Unauthorized COVID-19 test kits, unapproved face masks seized in Lockport

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 20:03:19-04

LOCKPORT, N.Y (WKBW) — Homeland Security Investigations Buffalo says more than 22,000 non-FDA approved KN-95 masks and 1,000 non-FDA approved COVID-19 tests were seized in Lockport Friday.

The unauthorized test kits and unapproved face masks were seized from Sunbeam Labs in Lockport as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. HSI says they were mislabeled and seized for wire fraud and in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The seizure was part of Operation Stolen Promise, which was launched by HSI and other law enforcement agencies in April to "prevent and investigate illegal criminal activity surrounding the pandemic, strengthen global supply-chain security and protect the American public."

Locally, several investigations have been opened and various seizures have been conducted.

“The production and sale of unapproved masks and fake test kits not only harms legitimate manufacturers of such products, but even more egregiously, jeopardizes the health and safety of those who are duped into using them,” stated James P. Kennedy, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. “We have a zero tolerance policy for this dangerous type of fraud, and working with our partners in law enforcement, we will use every tool available to protect our already vulnerable populace.”

Timothy Hoover, attorney for Hodgson Russ sent 7 Eyewitness News the following statement on behalf of SunBeam Labs:

“SunBeam Laboratories employs more than 80 people in Western New York. It is not aware of any conduct inconsistent with its commitment to ethical business and community support. Originally dedicated to testing hemp for farmers, SunBeam halted those operations when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and began manufacturing hand sanitizer and purchasing face masks and COVID-19 test kits. The company’s employees have been working around-the-clock for weeks on end to produce an essential product, and it was recently recognized for its charitable donations to law enforcement, First Responders, and others working on the frontlines. No criminal charges have been filed against the company or any employee, nor have any allegations been presented to SunBeam at all. SunBeam will cooperate with any investigation and continue to serve its employees, customers, and community.”