July 2020

3M Company Ends $14.25 Billion N95 Respirator Scheme in Indiana

United States - Indiana

Faegre Drinker represented 3M Company in the resolution of a case in federal court in Indiana against Nevada-based Zachary Puznak and Zenger LLC (d/b/a ZeroAqua), ending a fraudulent N95 price gouging scheme involving the promise of billions of nonexistent respirators. On July 9, 2020, the court issued a consent judgement, a permanent injunction and a payment to 3M for donation to COVID-19 charitable relief efforts.

As part of the resolution of the case, Puznak apologized to the State of Indiana, the public official who was the target of the scheme and the people of 3M. In a statement, Puznak said:

“If I understood then what I understand now, I never would have gotten involved in this scheme. . . I am cooperating and have turned over all my communications with the architects of this scheme to 3M, who will share them with law enforcement. I have also sat for a deposition to tell my story on the record to help educate the public officials, health care administrators, and the general public to ensure they do not fall victim to a similar scheme in the future. I am committed to assisting 3M and law enforcement to see justice served.”

3M has stated that it “appreciates Defendants’ cooperation and assistance . .  with 3M’s and law enforcement’s efforts to reduce fraud and price gouging.” 3M also stated that it intends to bring further claims against those Puznak identified as the “architects” of the $14.25 billion scheme to defraud Indiana state officials.

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