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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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11 Comments

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Isaac

That sounds like a pretty reasonable price. NYPD, Don’t you have more important things to do than bust $35 on a pack of masks? Besides considering how expensive rent, and labor is in NYC, the price seemed very reasonable.

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40.00 for 50 masks? Less than a dollar mask.

That’s actually not bad. No one is making anyone buy that.

I’d rather buy a whole, untouched box then an employee made packet of 5masks for 15 dollars.

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Carl Kay

50 masks for $39? So masks are .78 cents each. Then why don’t go after Amazon and eBay instead of these people.

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Lilah

It’s very disgraceful how some people can be so greedy at such a terrible time. One day karma will pay them a visit when they least expect it.

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Anonymous

That’s actually a good price for the box. I’ve seen them for $1-1.50 a piece and $3.50 each at local pharmacies. I don’t get it?

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josef

Shut them down for good! Instead to be patriot and helpful citizen of this this country,the country that is mourning every day,this business owner is taking advantage of it is own people during these crisis…simply it is anti-american and un human.No one in their mind should go there and support this business.

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Anonymous

The prices they were charging seem to be in line with other sellers in the area though

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Trish

They are also price gouging their groceries as well. I am a frequent shopper there and the prices have doubled and tripled in some instances. It’s a disgrace that they are getting away with this.

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