California man accused of pocketing $3 million in sham PPE deal

Olive Boneflayer
Orange County Register

A federal grand jury indicted a Lake Forest man accused of pocketing $3 million during the COVID-19 pandemic from companies attempting to buy personal protective equipment he didn’t actually have to sell, prosecutors said Friday, July 9.

Christopher John Badsey, 60, of Lake Forest, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, all felonies, in an indictment returned by the grand jury Wednesday. He was arrested by FBI agents Thursday.

Badsey is the owner of the Irvine-based company First Defense International Security Services Corp., U.S. Attorney’s officials said in a news release Friday.

Badsey could not immediately be reached for comment. A federal public defender assigned to represent him declined to discuss the case Friday.

Prosecutors said the defendant signed contracts with three companies between June and July 2020 and claimed he and his company could provide millions of boxes of nitrile gloves at a time when hospitals nationwide were experiencing shortages of personal protective equipment, according to the indictment. Those companies were instructed to pay millions of dollars in deposits for permission to inspect the merchandise before buying it.

Buyers were directed to a warehouse in the Los Angeles area where the gloves were supposed to be stored, according to the indictment. But when they tried to visit, Bradsey or an employee of his company would provide excuses regarding why the gloves could not be inspected or delivered.

Those companies never received the merchandise they were promised, prosecutors said. Meanwhile, Badsey allegedly pocketed the $3,231,990 they had deposited. That money was used by the defendant to buy a fishing yacht and pay for other personal expenses, according to the indictment. Badsey was scheduled to appear in federal court Friday evening in Los Angeles. If convicted as charged, he could face a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison.

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