3M alleges New Jersey company tried to price-gouge New York City for $45 million worth of masks

The markup reportedly was 500% to 600%.

April 10, 2020, 7:42 PM

N95 mask producer 3M filed a federal lawsuit in New York on Friday, alleging that another company tried to sell its respirators at wildly inflated prices.

According to 3M, New Jersey-based Performance Supply LLC falsely claimed to be affiliated with 3M and offered to sell about $45 million worth of N95 respirators to New York City officials at prices 500% to 600% above list price.

City officials, mistakenly believing Performance Supply was an authorized vendor of 3M products, twice prepared bids, according to Minnesota-based 3M.

"3M does not -- and will not -- tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception, or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic," Denise Rutherford, senior vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement. "3M will not stop here. We continue to work with federal and state law enforcement authorities, and around the world, to investigate and track down those who are illegally taking advantage of this situation for their own gain."

PHOTO: N95 masks wait for deployment at the Anne Arundel County Fire Department supply depot on April 9, 2020 in Glen Burnie, Md.
N95 masks wait for deployment at the Anne Arundel County Fire Department supply depot on April 9, 2020 in Glen Burnie, Md.
Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Performance Supply, according to documents from the New Jersey secretary of state obtained by ABC News, was established in February 2012, with the company's business certificate suspended in September 2014 over a failure to file annual reports. The company's certificate was reinstated on March 15, approximately two weeks before the alleged attempted sale to New York City officials.

A phone call to the only individual listed under company officers or directors returned a voicemail recording by someone identifying as that person. No message could be left because the mailbox was full. A text to the same number wasn't immediately answered, and it's unclear whether it was received.

PHOTO: Cataldo Ambulance medics bring a patient who has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the ambulance at an assisted living facility in Chelsea, Mass., April 10, 2020.
Cataldo Ambulance medics bring a patient who has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the ambulance at an assisted living facility in Chelsea, Mass., April 10, 2020.
Brian Snyder/Reuters

The company address listed in the complaint appears to be a private home.

3M has asked that Performance Supply end "its illegal activities" and is seeking damages, which, if received, "will be donated to COVID-19 related nonprofit organizations."

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