May 8, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
An Astoria man has been accused of selling stolen COVID-19 test kits for up to $200 each.
Henry Sylvain Gindt II, 34, who lives on 38th Street, was charged in Pittsburgh on Thursday for selling the kits via his health and wellness websites YouHealth.shop and YouHealth.me.
Gindt also promised his unsuspecting customers that he would provide them with test results but failed to do so, prosecutors said.
According to the criminal complaint, Gindt allegedly obtained stolen COVID-19 test kits from a person working in an unnamed laboratory.
He then advertised the goods – and a COVID-19 results service – for between $135 and $200 on his websites. He also sent emails to potential consumers across multiple states advertising the packages.
Gindt conned customers into believing that he was affiliated with a certified lab, prosecutors said.
He also presented himself as a former Trump administration employee who had worked under Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. In a March press release, he claimed to have helped launch the Office of American Innovation – which aims to improve the quality of life of Americans – although it is unclear if this is accurate.
Prosecutors said that Gindt shipped the products – which included nasal swab tests – to consumers without conducting any prior medical screening of their condition.
The test kits were accompanied with a medical questionnaire as a way for customers to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms.
Customers were instructed to swab themselves and send their test kits to a bogus address for testing.
The consumers never received any test results, prosecutors said.
Investigators said that Gindt used the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a way to enrich himself.
“The suspect in this case took advantage of American citizens for his own personal benefit, preying on customers fear and anxiety,” Tim Burke, from the U.S. Secret Service in Pittsburgh said.
“This case should serve as a strong deterrent for criminal actors considering taking part in related fraud schemes,” he added.
Gindt was charged with committing mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.