An Orange County man pleaded not guilty Friday to defrauding victims who paid for COVID-related medical protective equipment that was never delivered, causing nearly $3 million in losses.
Christopher John Badsey, 60, of Lake Forest, was arrested by FBI agents Thursday on four counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
An indictment returned Wednesday by a Los Angeles federal grand jury alleges that Badsey falsely represented that he had access to millions of boxes of medical-grade nitrile gloves through his Irvine-based company, First Defense International Security Services Corp. This type of personal protective equipment was in high demand and short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Badsey allegedly entered into contractual agreements with victims, whom he required to provide a monetary deposit to inspect the gloves before delivery.
After receiving the deposits, Badsey allegedly instructed victims to travel to the Los Angeles area, where he claimed the gloves were stored in a warehouse.
However, when victims attempted to visit the warehouse, Badsey and other FDI employees allegedly provided excuses as to why the gloves could neither be inspected, nor delivered, to the victims.
Nitrile gloves were never provided to the victims, and Badsey is alleged to have absconded with the deposit money totaling nearly $3 million.
After obtaining the victims’ wire deposits, Badsey and others are believed to have used those funds to make lavish purchases for their personal benefit.
If convicted of all charges in the six-count indictment, Badsey would face up to 100 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.