Legislation to increase penalties for selling fake medical supplies is being introduced by State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch).
Gopal said his move is in response to allegations that a “scam artist” sold 1,000 counterfeit filtration respirators to Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.
“When we’re in a state of emergency like this one, we need to make sure our hospitals are getting the supplies they need efficiently, effectively, and quickly,” Gopal said. “For every dollar or second we waste on ineffective or fake products, we could potentially be losing lives.”
The new law proposed by Gopal would upgrade penalties during a state of emergency to a second-degree crime that could include a prison term of five to ten years.
“These scam artists are trying to take advantage of a medical system that’s been driven to desperation, and that’s unacceptable,” the Monmouth County senator said. “Our healthcare workers and first responders are doing heroic work to fight back against this virus. It’s our responsibility to make sure they have the tools they need to get the job done, and that if a bad actor tries to take advantage of them, we crack down — hard.”