LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Lexington company must turn over the names of all the companies from which it bought and to which it sold what are suspected as being counterfeit N95 masks, according to a federal court order in a case brought by 3M (3m complaint).
In a release, 3M says it has worked with the U.S. Marshals Service to stop the sale of more than one million suspected fake N95 respirators, as part of the company’s continuing global effort to combat pandemic fraud, counterfeiting, and price gouging.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted 3M a temporary restraining order stopping defendant Old World Timber, located on Versailles Road in Lexington, from selling counterfeit products. 3M then worked with the U.S. Marshals Service to seize more than one million respirators from the company, according to 3M and federal court records.
“3M will continue to take action against those who sell fake products and put lives at risk during the pandemic, and we appreciate the prompt action by the U.S. Marshals Service and the court to help protect unsuspecting customers,” said Kevin Rhodes, 3M senior vice president and deputy general counsel. “We will continue to offer our resources to check suspicious offers and get counterfeit products off the market.”
According to federal court documents, marshals seized the cell phones belonging to Old World Trading senior officers Nathan Brown and Adam Sloan and a laptop belonging to Sloan.
The two sides are to work to provide information pertinent to 3M while protecting Brown and Sloan’s privacy, according to a court order.
The order directs Old World Trading to hand over information about the company’s purchases and sales. A hearing on the matters is schedule for July 27 in federal court in Lexington.
3M says it is trying to stop the continued sale of respirators bearing the 3M logo or trademark that weren’t made by 3M.
The case originated when potential customers contacted 3M’s fraud hotlines (1-800-426-8688 in the U.S. or www.3m.com/covidfraud) to check the authenticity of sales documents from Old World Timber. 3M investigated and determined the documents and products were fake.
After being contacted by ABC 36 News, Old World Timber Founder and CEO, Nathan Brown, sent the following statement:
“On June 4, 2021, the U.S. Marshal’s seized masks from Old World Timber. Old World Timber has no interest in purchasing, marketing, or selling counterfeit masks. The 3M complaint presents only one side of the case. Old World Timber is actively working with 3M to reach a settlement of the case. In light of the active settlement negotiations in the case OWT cannot comment further.”
Since the pandemic began, 3M says it has seized more than 41 million counterfeit N95 respirators in collaboration with law enforcement and customs agencies around the world.
3M has established hotlines around the world to report suspected fraud and has created online resources to help spot price-gouging, identify authentic 3M respirators and ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors.
3M has investigated more than 14,000 fraud reports to its hotlines globally, and has filed 36 lawsuits to stop those attempting to profiteer from the pandemic demand for critical supplies.
Online, 3M has removed more than 20,000 false or deceptive social media posts, over 21,000 fraudulent e-commerce offers and at least 315 deceptive domain names have been taken down.
3M is donating all of the monetary damages and settlement payments it receives in these cases to COVID-19 related charities.
3M has created resources to get the facts about authentic PPE and avoid counterfeit scams at www.3m.com/covidfraud. If you have any questions whether respirators you’ve purchased or are thinking about purchasing are authentic, 3M says it will help.
- Counterfeit respirators are made by criminals trying to deceive customers. These counterfeits do not come from 3M and are not made using 3M’s robust quality controls.
- Counterfeit respirators are not tested and approved like authentic 3M respirators. Instead, counterfeit respirators are made by unknown fraudsters, using unknown processes and materials, with unknown or nonexistent quality controls.
- As a result, counterfeit respirators cannot be trusted and should not be purchased or used.