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Sat Jul 11, 2020, 04:28 AM

One Federal Agency Was Suing Him for Fraud. Another Paid His Company Millions for Masks.

Desperate to acquire masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, two federal agencies gave nearly $20 million in contracts to a newly formed California company without realizing it was partly run by a man whose business activities were under sanction by the Federal Trade Commission, court records show.

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge froze the company’s assets, most of which had come from the Department of Veterans Affairs in a $5.4 million mask deal. A story by ProPublica revealed Jason Cardiff’s role in operating VPL Medical LLC in June.

Cardiff was sued by the FTC in 2018 in connection with an alleged fraudulent scheme involving smoking cessation strips and male sexual enhancement pills and was under court order to report his income to a receiver. Cardiff was recently held in contempt for violating that court order. By not disclosing his involvement with VPL, court records allege Cardiff was essentially hiding information from the FTC about money his company was getting from another federal agency, the VA.

California business filings show that VPL was incorporated just four days before it won the VA deal in April, and it went on to win a $14.5 million no-bid contract the next day from the federal office in charge of the national stockpile. Those filings do not mention Cardiff as a company owner. The FTC alleges in court records that Cardiff and a partner, Bobby Bedi, were equal partners and had each paid themselves at least $420,000 from the VA money.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/one-federal-agency-was-suing-him-for-fraud-another-paid-his-company-millions-for-masks

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