Hixson man pleads guilty to face mask & hand sanitizer scams

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A Hixson man has pleaded guilty to a scam about making face masks.

58 year old David Michael Wright, Sr. pleaded to wire fraud and money laundering.

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He will be sentenced in October.

Federal prosecutors say he took investment money from April through September to provide PPE to hospitals and retailers.

Here’s how they say the scam worked.

Wright contacted an investor, showing him an invoice from a Chinese manufacturer for 70,000 KN95 masks.

He needed the investor to pay the purchase price of $49,700.

Wright would then re-sell the masks to CHI Memorial Hospital for $210,000.

The investor came up the with $49,700 and a few months later, Wright gave him a bogus check for the $210,000 sale.

The catch is that CHI Memorial had no deal with Wright at all.

But that was just the start.

Wright’s victim had a connection with a hand sanitizer manufacturer.

So Wright came up with a scheme to sell 40,000 bottles of the sanitizer to Publix.

Wright put up some of his KN95 mask money, while the victim invested another $80,500.

Neither of the deals were real.

Wright faces up to 40 years in prison plus fines and restitution at sentencing.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Coronavirus Fraud
Task Force.