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Whitestone Grocers Arrested for Price Gouging of Face Masks

Raspberry Farm in Whitestone allegedly sold face masks for inflated prices Wednesday (Google Maps)

May 8, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Two Queens men have been arrested and charged with price gouging for selling face masks for $45 a pack at a Whitestone grocery store.

Tae Kyong Kim, 49, of College Point, and Jung Soo Lee, 61, of Bayside, sold the masks at Raspberry Farm grocery store, located at 150-15 14th Ave., to undercover detectives on Wednesday, the Queens District Attorney announced today.

The men sold one undercover detective a box of two KF94 masks for $10 and a second undercover detective a box of 10 KN95 masks for $45 Wednesday, according to the charges.

Police recovered 24 boxes containing 10 KN95 masks, 35 boxes containing 50 disposable face masks, 31 boxes containing four disposable masks, 153 single packs of KF94 face masks and 67 dust proof face masks.

Officers also found invoices showing that the men paid $30 for the KN95 masks that they were re-selling for $45 and $24 for a box of 50 disposable masks that they were re-selling for $39.

Raspberry Farm in Whitestone allegedly sold face masks for inflated prices Wednesday (Queens District Attorney’s Office)

The pair allegedly told officers that they had increased the prices by 50 percent, according to the Queens DA.

“The individuals charged in this case put profits over the health of their fellow New Yorkers by
charging exorbitant fees for face masks that could save people’s lives,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

On March 15, the City ruled that no one can sell masks or other essential goods at more than 10 percent above the price during normal times.

“Sadly, the outbreak of the coronavirus has inspired greed and manipulation,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “We are still in the midst of a crisis and people are still dying every day from COVID-19.”

The men were both issued desk appearance tickets and ordered to appear in court on September 4.

The District Attorney’s office has established a hotline for residents to report incidents of price gouging.

“We are actively seeking out individuals and businesses that would take advantage of people’s real fears during this pandemic to line their own pockets,” Katz said. “If you know of a business or individual inflating the price of needed personal protection equipment, please call my office at 718
286-6673.”

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