Attorney General Curtis Hill has filed a civil lawsuit against an individual and a corporation that allegedly conspired to fraudulently obtain hundreds of millions of dollars from the State of Indiana during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The defendants, Zachary Puznak and Zenger LLC, offered to sell the state government millions of in-demand N95 respirator masks on behalf of the manufacturer, 3M. Indiana’s complaint alleges they had no actual connection to 3M, however. Nor did they have an ability to obtain N95 masks in such quantities.
The solicitation by Puznak and Zenger LLC, the complaint alleges, appears to have been nothing more than an attempt to quickly obtain a large monetary payment from the State of Indiana without delivering any product.
“These fraudsters tried to pull off their scheme in April of 2020,” Attorney General Hill said. “That’s when states across the nation were scrambling to obtain sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment to outfit first responders, health-care workers and essential businesses. Anyone attempting to use such times of crisis for unethical personal gain must be held accountable for their actions.”
Indiana’s complaint alleges that Puznak and Zenger LLC committed multiple violations of Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and False Claims Act. Further, it seeks to prohibit Puznak and Zenger LLC from engaging in any sales of personal protective equipment to any purchasers in Indiana without first reporting specific details of their business activities to the Office of the Attorney General. Finally, the complaint seeks civil penalties to be determined at trial as well as reimbursement of litigation costs.