ATLANTA, GA — An Atlanta man is facing a federal wire fraud charge for trying to sell nonexistent face masks to the Department of Veterans Affairs in a fraud scheme that would have cost the agency more than $750 million, federal prosecutors said Friday. Federal prosecutors charged 39-year-old Christopher Parris with wire fraud, alleging he tried to get the department to order 125 million face masks and other personal protective equipment.

In the complaint, the prosecutors alleged Parris promised to obtain millions of 3M masks from domestic factories when he knew that fulfilling the orders would not be possible. 3M, based in Minnesota, produces surgical masks and respirators that have been in high demand since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

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