3M Files Lawsuits on Claims of PPE-related Fraud
Minnesota-based 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) has filed several federal lawsuits, including one in Indiana. The company says the suits target individuals who falsely affiliated themselves with 3M while trying to sell N95 respirators to government officials.
In the Indiana case, 3M says it is suing Zachary Puznak and two related companies, Zenger LLC and ZeroAqua. The company alleges Puznak claimed to be working with 3M with the ability to sell up to 5 billion 3M respirators to the state at more than double the list price.
3M says Puznak accused state employees of “paranoid irrationality” when they asked for confirmation of his connection to 3M. The company’s complaint says Puznak also falsely claimed at 3M executives told him to abandon the deal.
The company says Puznak has “no connection whatsoever to 3M.”
The lawsuit joins four others filed in Florida and Wisconsin against individuals accused of conducting similar schemes. In all, the company has filed 10 lawsuits in the month of April to combat fraud.
“We are grateful that in each of these cases, the false offers were reported to 3M, and the attempts to deceive public officials did not succeed,” said Ivan Fong, general counsel for 3M. “We will continue to take legal action in cases like these and are working closely with national and international law enforcement to help stop the perpetrators of these unlawful and unethical schemes.”
3M says it has not changed the prices for its respirators and it is working with law enforcement agencies, state attorneys general, and online retail and tech companies to identify illegal activity.
“The goal is to prevent fraud before it starts and stop it where it is happening,” the company said.