LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An Orange County man pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding victims who paid for COVID-related medical-grade protective gloves that were never delivered, causing more than $3 million in losses.
Christopher Badsey, 62, of Lake Forest, entered his plea to four federal counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton scheduled a Sept. 15 sentencing hearing, at which time Badsey will potentially face up to 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count, federal prosecutors said.
Badsey told buyers he had access to millions of boxes of medical-grade nitrile gloves through his Irvine-based company, First Defense International Security Services Corp., prosecutors said. The gloves were in high demand and short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Badsey entered into contractual agreements with three companies and required them to provide a monetary deposit to inspect the gloves before delivery.
After receiving the deposits, Badsey told representatives of the companies to travel to the Los Angeles area, where he claimed the gloves were stored in a warehouse, federal prosecutors said.
However, when they tried to visit the warehouse, Badsey and other FDI employees provided excuses as to why the gloves could neither be inspected, nor delivered, to the purchasers. The gloves were never provided, and Badsey admitted absconding with the deposit money totaling over $3 million, prosecutors said.
As part of his plea agreement, Badsey has agreed to forfeit all title and interest in money or items derived from his crimes, including a yacht, a pontoon boat, two Mercedes-Benz automobiles, two Ford pickup trucks, an RV, a tractor, three ATVs, miscellaneous fishing equipment, and $58,923 in cash.
Badsey is also expected to be ordered to pay over $3.2 million in restitution to victims at sentencing, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.