Christopher Parris, who is facing federal charges related to a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that robbed hundreds of people of their savings, has now been accused of running a coronavirus scam by taking millions of dollars from people looking for COVID-19 personal protection equipment (PPE).
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Christopher Parris Alleged Coronavirus Scam
Federal authorities say that, during the first weeks of the outbreak, Parris claimed to be a surgical mask broker and made millions of dollars in sales. But he didn’t have any masks, authorities say.
Scott Silver, Silver Law Group’s managing partner, represented investors who lost money in Parris’ alleged Ponzi scheme and said he was not surprised that he was arrested on a Coronavirus scam charge, telling the publication in an interview “He’s already facing 20 years in prison. What’s he worried about?”
Parris was out on pretrial release for his role in the alleged Ponzi scheme when in April, 2020 he was arrested on charges that he tried to get a $750 million order from the Department of Veterans Affairs for surgical masks and other equipment. Parris allegedly claimed that he represented a company called Encore Health Group that had masks and protective equipment.
When the Department of Veterans Affairs heard the price, about 15 times normal, Homeland Security became involved and an investigation led to Parris. Acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Matthew Albence said “He had no means of producing any PPE. It was just a scam.”
Federal authorities say that Parris made millions before being caught, and claim that a bank account he controlled received over $7.4 million in March and April, 2020, with most of the money coming from those trying to buy PPE. $3.2 million was seized from his account by the government.
Coronavirus Scams Abundant
Law enforcement says there’s been much fraud linked to the Coronavirus pandemic. Homeland Security Investigations has launched “Operation Stolen Promise” to combat it and has opened hundreds of cases and executed dozens of search warrants. Investigators say they’ve turned up counterfeit protective equipment, testing kits, cleaning products, and even people peddling “cures” for the virus.
Jere T. Miles, special agent in charge of the New Orleans office of Homeland Security Investigations, said of Parris that it’s bad enough he allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme, but to “run a completely fraudulent scheme in the middle of a pandemic … that rises to a whole other level of special criminal.”
Our Attorneys Are Ponzi Scheme Experts
Christopher Parris and Perry Santillo are alleged to have run a Ponzi scheme from 2012 to 2018 that collapsed and lost $100 million for investors. Many of the victims had a personal connection to the alleged schemers and were told that their money would be invested in insurance, real estate, and financial services. Some lost their life savings. Parris and Santillo had boasted about their lavish spending on pricey suits and champagne.
Perry Santillo pleaded guilty to fraud in November, 2019. Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group represented investors in an effort to recover their money from the alleged Ponzi scheme.
Parris, originally from Rochester, New York, was charged in January, 2020, but released on his own recognizance. Now he’s in jail again.
Are You A Victim Of A Ponzi Scheme Or Coronavirus Scam?
Silver Law Group represents investors in securities and investment fraud cases, including Ponzi schemes. Our lawyers are admitted to practice in New York and Florida and represent investors nationwide to help recover investment losses due to stockbroker misconduct and other issues.
We live in complicated times and some bad actors are going to try and take advantage of the situation. Our attorneys have seen several different financial frauds recently including many investments being promoted as being profitable because of the Coronavirus and changing needs of the public. Be careful of any investment and make sure that any investment is properly registered and being sold by a license stockbroker or other financial advisor. Ponzi schemes are on the rise and our attorneys are being contacted by investors in multiple different schemes.
Silver Law Group also serves as counsel to corporate monitors and securities receivers. If you have any questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced attorney. Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning that nothing is owed until we recover your money for you. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.