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Goldmeiers plead guilty to PPE hoarding and price gouging

Published September 8, 2021
The former owners of Ross Bicycles agree to pay $1 million in restitution to the State of Oklahoma.

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (BRAIN) — Bike industry veterans Steven and Allen Goldmeier pleaded guilty Wednesday to hoarding surgical masks and selling them at "exorbitant" prices to the State of Oklahoma.

The brothers are the former owners of Rand International, which bought Ross Bicycles and its trademarks from a bankruptcy auction in 1988. Rand operated Ross for several years, and imported and sold other bicycle products under various brands. Earlier this year, a trademark office board ruled that the Goldmeiers' business had abandoned the trademark, opening the door for members of the Ross family to resume using it. 

According to the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the brothers, through their toy company Millennium Products Group, bought millions of three-ply surgical masks from China for between approximately $0.18 and $0.60 per mask. They sold 1,227,500 of these masks to the State of Oklahoma, among others, for $1.65 per mask, a markup of more than 900%. They agreed to pay the restitution to Oklahoma before sentencing. They face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

"The defendants selfishly sought to make millions of dollars in profits during an unprecedented public health crisis by hoarding and selling at exorbitant prices personal protective equipment that was desperately needed by the State of Oklahoma to protect the public health and safety, and save lives," said Acting United States Attorney Kasulis. "This Office will continue to do everything in its power to enforce the Defense Production Act and ensure that opportunists like the defendants are held accountable for their indiscriminate acts of greed." 

On March 18, 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act, making it illegal to acquire medical supplies and devices designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as scarce in order to hoard them or sell them for excessive prices.

BRAIN emailed Steven Goldmeier for his reaction, but we haven't heard back. 

Related story: The Ross family wants to bring back its bike brand. The brand's owner says it never went away. (Nov. 2019) 

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