He created the adhesive that lets the small, square notes stick to surfaces. They became one of the most ubiquitous office products ever conceived.
Criminal charges are expected in the investigation, which brought the total number of seized masks to more than 11 million, the authorities said.
Many of the masks were clever fakes, stamped with the 3M logo and shipped in boxes that read, “Made in the U.S.A.,” even though they were not made in the country or by 3M, according to federal investigators.
Health workers are still being forced to ration protective masks, but small U.S. manufacturers can’t find buyers, and some are in a danger of going under.
The Houston-area men charged a foreign government more than $317 million for the masks, about five times the public list price, the authorities said.
And why is shipping not free?
The agency is revising its rules, saying some N95 masks mainly used by health care workers and emergency responders cannot undergo decontamination for further use.
The president has promised enhanced testing and monitoring capabilities, thousands of ventilators and millions of masks. Here’s a status report.
New regulations in China are delaying its shipments of medical supplies around the world. And some American officials worry accepting donated gear helps China’s propaganda efforts.
If the administration had reacted to the ventilator shortage in February, a private sector effort starting now might have made lifesaving equipment in mid- to late April. Now it is unlikely to be before June.
It remains unclear if the effort to enlist companies like General Motors, Apple and Hanes constitutes an effective strategy.