November 26, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Local Spa Owner Admits Price Gouging in Sale of Scarce N95 Masks

Niki Schwarz, owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa, pleads guilty to federal charges

A local day spa owner was charged this week in federal court with accumulating N95 respirators in anticipation of the COVID-19 pandemic and then price gouging by selling the scarce masks at vastly inflated prices – sometimes nearly 1,100 percent over list price.

Niki Schwarz, 55, of Santa Monica, the owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa, was named in a criminal information charging her with one count of hoarding and price gouging. In a plea agreement also filed today, Schwarz agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense.

In the plea agreement, Schwarz admitted that in February she began accumulating N95 respirators in anticipation of a shortage that would be caused by a global pandemic resulting from the spread of the novel coronavirus. From the beginning of February until the end of June, Schwarz accumulated nearly 20,000 N95 masks that had been manufactured by 3M (list price ranging from $1.02 to $1.27) and Alpha Pro (list price of 86 cents).

In March, the United States government designated N95 respirators as “scarce materials” under the Defense Production Act of 1950 due to the overwhelming need of health care providers dealing with COVID-19 patients to use personal protective equipment.

Schwarz admitted that she obtained the N95 respirators for the purpose of reselling them at above-market rates, and that she sold the masks for up to $15 each.

Schwarz “accumulated and resold the masks at prices in excess of the prevailing market prices willfully, that is, with knowledge that masks had been designated as scarce materials and with knowledge that accumulation of the designated materials to resell in excess of prevailing market prices was unlawful,” according to the plea agreement.

On March 1, an associate informed Schwarz that the associate was going to stop selling N95 masks because she believed it was crime – and that price gouging could result in one year in prison – but Schwarz continued to sell the masks at inflated prices.

The hoarding and price gouging offense that Schwarz admits in the plea agreement carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.

Schwarz will receive a summons directing her to make an initial appearance in United States District Court, likely in early November.

This matter was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Schwarz was not immediately available for comment.

Related Posts

Edify TV: Layoffs Coming as LA County Suspends Outdoor Dining

November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020

“We are laying off about 70 percent of our staff,” says a local restaurant owner in the wake of LA County...

Acclaimed Abbot Kinney Restaurant Closes 18-Months After Opening

November 25, 2020

November 25, 2020

Vartan Abgaryan says Abbot Kinney Boulevard restaurant Yours Truly will not be reopening By Kerry Slater An acclaimed Abbot Kinney...

LAPD Venice Beach Detail Downsizing Due To Budget Cuts: YO! Venice Show – November, 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * LAPD Venice Beach Detail Downsizing Due To Budget Cuts * Homicides...

Small Package Explodes at Venice Post Office

November 23, 2020

November 23, 2020

Saturday incident under investigation A small package exploded at a Venice USPS facility over the weekend. According to the Los...

City Council Set to Vote on Vote on Encampment Ban

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Los Angeles City Council to continue controversial item November 24 By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles lawmakers are set to vote...

Venice Shooting Leaves Man Injured

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Shooting takes place in area of Washington and Pacific Thursday One person was injured following a shooting that took place...

Local Restaurants React to New Dining Restrictions

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Capacity in Los Angeles restaurants capped at 50 percent By Toi Creel Local restaurants are having to make some big...

Wrestler JTG Supports Shab Gaspard Nomination for WWE “Warrior Award”: YO! Venice Show – November, 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Wrestler JTG Supports Shab Gaspard Nomination for WWE “Warrior Award” *...

Main Street Restaurant Recognized by Michelin

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Pasjoli on Main Street in Santa Monica named a “discovery” restaurant By Toi Creel While Michelin stars are not being...

Westside Golf Course to be Affordable Housing?

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

As Los Angeles continues to grapple with an affordable housing crisis, an architect is proposing converting a Westside public golf...

Senior Housing Development Would Include 12-Stories, Over 100 Units

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

Belmont Village project to go before Westwood Design Review Board By Sam Catanzaro A 12-story, 153-foot-tall, senior housing project is...

Venice Family Clinic Raises $1 Million for 50th Anniversary

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton among celebrities supporting weeklong celebration and fundraiser By Kerry Slater With support...

Edify TV: Reopening of Popular Westside Beach Workout Destination

November 17, 2020

November 17, 2020

“It’s just so great,” says a man on the reopening of a popular Westside beach workout destination. “This is therapy...

  • … [Trackback]

    […] Informations on that Topic: yovenice.com/2020/10/27/local-spa-owner-admits-price-gouging-in-sale-of-scarce-n95-masks/ […]