EL PASO – Federal authorities in El Paso are seeking a civil injunction against 40-year-old Wayzata, Minnesota resident Scott Boynton and his business, Boynton Companies, Inc, d/b/a RELYmedia, in an effort to combat alleged fraud related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The government is employing a statute that permits federal courts to issue injunctions to prevent harm to potential victims of fraudulent schemes. The purpose of the civil injunction is to stop Boynton and RELYmedia, from advertising, distributing, transporting or selling any mask or face covering purported to be an authentic 3M 1860 N95 mask. If approved by the Court, the civil injunction will prevent RELYmedia from selling counterfeit 3M masks in an effort to protect the public from unknowingly purchasing ineffective or substandard personal protective equipment.
On December 7, 2020, Department of Homeland Security officials seized over 100,000 counterfeit 3M 1860 N95 masks sold by Boynton through RELYmedia. Those masks were discovered inside a U.S. Customs bonded warehouse in El Paso. Court records state that the seized masks, as well as other masks offered for sale and sold by Boynton, were counterfeit 3M N95 masks exported from China.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and Special Agent in Charge Erik P. Breitzke of Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) El Paso Field Office made today’s announcement.
The Department of Justice recommends that Americans take the following precautionary measures to protect themselves from known and emerging scams related to COVID-19:
This enforcement action is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shane Wagman Romero and Eddie Castillo. HSI’s El Paso Field Office is conducting the investigation. The claims made in the complaint are allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trial, the government must prove to receive a permanent injunction against the defendant.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on DOJ’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
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