The former director of emergency management at the University of Pittsburgh was indicted Tuesday in federal court on charges that he stole thousands of masks from campus at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic and sold them on his eBay page.
Christopher Casamento, 42, of Ross, is charged with one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.
The university fired him on July 17.
Casamento had access to N95 respirator masks, as well as surgical face masks, that were designated for use by Pitt employees and students, according to the indictment.
Instead, the indictment said, from Feb. 28, 2020, March 22, 2020, Casamento stole 13,615 of the masks, knowns as Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, and sold them on his eBay page “steel-city-motor-toys.”
He then shipped the masks to buyers outside of Pennsylvania, prosecutors said.
Casamento, who had worked at Pitt since 2007, earned $18,783.50 from the sales of the PPE, prosecutors said.
“At the start of the pandemic, when supplies of PPE were low and nationwide demand was intense, Mr. Casamento used his position of trust and access to critical PPE to enrich himself at the expense of Pitt students and faculty,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman.
Kevin Zwick, a Pitt spokesman , said the university fully cooperated with the federal investigation.
“Since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, the University of Pittsburgh has maintained an adequate stockpile of PPE sufficient to meet the needs of the University community,” Zwick said.
The university is seeking restitution.
Paula Reed Ward is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paula by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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