December 1, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Spa Owner Admits Price Gouging in Sale of Scarce N95 Masks

Niki Schwarz, owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa, pleads guilty to federal charges

A Santa Monica day spa owner was charged this week in federal court with accumulating N95 respirators in anticipation of the COVID-19 pandemic and then price gouging by selling the scarce masks at vastly inflated prices – sometimes nearly 1,100 percent over list price.

Niki Schwarz, 55, of Santa Monica, the owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa, was named in a criminal information charging her with one count of hoarding and price gouging. In a plea agreement also filed today, Schwarz agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense.

In the plea agreement, Schwarz admitted that in February she began accumulating N95 respirators in anticipation of a shortage that would be caused by a global pandemic resulting from the spread of the novel coronavirus. From the beginning of February until the end of June, Schwarz accumulated nearly 20,000 N95 masks that had been manufactured by 3M (list price ranging from $1.02 to $1.27) and Alpha Pro (list price of 86 cents).

In March, the United States government designated N95 respirators as “scarce materials” under the Defense Production Act of 1950 due to the overwhelming need of health care providers dealing with COVID-19 patients to use personal protective equipment.

Schwarz admitted that she obtained the N95 respirators for the purpose of reselling them at above-market rates, and that she sold the masks for up to $15 each.

Schwarz “accumulated and resold the masks at prices in excess of the prevailing market prices willfully, that is, with knowledge that masks had been designated as scarce materials and with knowledge that accumulation of the designated materials to resell in excess of prevailing market prices was unlawful,” according to the plea agreement.

On March 1, an associate informed Schwarz that the associate was going to stop selling N95 masks because she believed it was crime – and that price gouging could result in one year in prison – but Schwarz continued to sell the masks at inflated prices.

The hoarding and price gouging offense that Schwarz admits in the plea agreement carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.

Schwarz will receive a summons directing her to make an initial appearance in United States District Court, likely in early November.

This matter was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Schwarz was not immediately available for comment.

in Crime, News
Related Posts

Local Restaurants Burger Named Best in the Southland

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Hank’s Palisades’ burger named best in the Southland by the LA Times Hank’s restaurant in the Pacific Palisades and Executive...

46 Samohi Orchestra Students Chosen for CODA Honors Orchestra

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Students to play in two San Diego concerts this weekend Santa Monica High School (Samohi) announced that 46 orchestra student...

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Celebrates the Holidays

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

Head to the beach this December to experience the hotel’s seasonal family-friendly activities This year, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel...

Free Holiday Events In Downtown Santa Monica This December

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

The Santa Monica Place hosts weekly events throughout the month of December, learn what is happening in this video sponsored...

Santa Monica Issues Moratorium on Parkway Ordinance After Public Dispute

November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

Move comes after backlash from residents By Keemia Zhang Santa Monica has placed an indefinite moratorium on a previous directive...

Police Seek Suspects Wanted for Santa Monica Jewelry Store Burglary

November 28, 2022

November 28, 2022

Four suspects wanted in connection to November 20 incident  Police are searching for four suspects wanted for robbing a Santa...

Vehicle Drives Over Palisades Park Bluffs

November 28, 2022

November 28, 2022

Driver cited for DUI following Saturday incident By Sam Catanzaro A car drove over the bluffs at Palisades Park in...

More Than 1,000 Food-Insecure Santa Monica College Students Gifted Thanksgiving Groceries

November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022

3rd Annual GIVING THANKS(giving) event returns By Sam Catanzaro As college students across Southern California continue to struggle accessing basic...

Nourish L.A Feeds Thousands Each Week With Excess Food

November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022

Local organization Nourish L.A turns excess food into groceries for those who are food insecure in our neighborhoods and the...

Local Boy Scout Leads Effort to Fix Termite-Infested Trail Handrail

November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022

Ari Candela leads community service effort on a Beverly Hills hiking path By Keemia Zhang Last month, Ari Candela, patrol...

Pacific Park Presents An ‘A-Maize-Ing’ Ferris Wheel Thanksgiving Celebration With 90-Foot-Tall Turkey And All The Trimmings

November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier presents an “a-maize-ing” Ferris wheel Thanksgiving celebration with a fun, festive light program...

ICE Grand Opening Welcomes over 1,300 on Opening Day

November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022

ICE Santa Monica has returned for all day skating and fun for the whole family learn about what’s changed after...

SMMUSD Superintendent Leaving Post

November 21, 2022

November 21, 2022

Dr. Ben Drati to become Superintendent of the Bellflower Unified School District By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District...

Two People Hospitalized in Ocean Front Walk Stabbings

November 21, 2022

November 21, 2022

Jamal K. Lampitt arrested in connection to November 17 stabbings Two people were hospitalized following stabbings on Ocean Front Walk...