Vietnamese PPE Scams – Used Gloves and Condoms
A crisis often brings out the best in people. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers, frontline workers, and everyday citizens around the world joined efforts to combat the virus and get things back to normal. Unfortunately, COVID-19 also brought out the worst in people: scammers, criminal organizations, racketeers, and individuals looking to profit off of the pandemic and strained supply channels. Hundreds of millions of dollars were stolen by fraudsters purporting to sell Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). One of those criminal enterprises is Super Antibacterial Mask Medical Material Production Joint Stock Company (also known as SAM and SAM Gloves), which is owned and run by its ‘Chairman’ Mr. Hua Hong Hai, who has stolen money from clients and not delivered the products paid for. In some cases, Hai was responsible for shipping used gloves and condoms to customers instead of medical-grade nitrile gloves ordered.
Nitrile Medical Gloves are one of the scarcest PPE items amid this pandemic, as their use have been limited to health care workers who are on the front lines aiding COVID-19 patients.
Over 543,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 and 2.74 million more people have died around the world as over 124 million cases of the infection have been confirmed globally. But for SAM and Hai, this crisis served as the right moment to steal as much money as possible in a short period of time. “COVID-19 scams divert government time and resources and risk preventing front-line responders and consumers from obtaining the equipment they need to combat this pandemic,” said Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
Hai purportedly registered two organizations as factories with the FDA, Super Antibacterial Mask Medical Material Production Joint Stock Company with FDA number 3017084627 and Super Clean Gloves Medical Material Production Joint Stock, FDA registration number 3017909834.
Both organizations claim to be FDA-registered factories, offering medical-grade nitrile gloves. Hai contracts with organizations all around the world to supply these medical nitrile gloves he purports to manufacture at his factory. What is the problem? Where is the scam? Hai doesn’t actually have a factory that manufactures medical nitrile gloves. In fact, nothing is currently being manufactured at either business location registered with the FDA or listed on SAM’s website.
The modus operandi involves a slick website, the use of local recruiters, persistent sales tactics, falsified inspection test reports, all creating a lure for international companies to send international wire transfers of cash deposits to one of the many bank accounts owned by SAM under false promises to deliver goods under a clear timeline. Funds are immediately transferred out of the bank account into another one. After a series of unexplained delays in delivery, when customers demand return of funds, each victim ends up as one of the many companies ‘in the queue’ for repayment that never occurs.
Mr. Le Quy Khanh Chuong, born 02/16/1982 (aka Brian Le) is also a part of this criminal enterprise. Mr. Chuong represents himself under a totally different name, Brian Le, as part of the scam and poses as the Sales Manager for communication between the client and Mr. Hua Hong Hai. Mr. Chuong receives a commission on each purchasing company that ends up defrauded. Mr. Chuong is Vietnamese but a permanent resident of the US with a California driver’s license at a residence in SantaAna, CA 92703.
SAM has allegedly stolen tens of millions of dollars from companies during the pandemic. Global companies Hai defrauded include FreeHealth, Inc. from the United States, Asther Trading from Singapore, Consiliari from Poland, Horizon Max Global Trading from Dubai, and others.
Sudheer George of HORIZON MAX GENERAL TRADING LLC said, “We issued a PO to SAM and made full payment to supply 7000 cartons of Vinyl Glove brand nitrile gloves to our client in US – Albertsons (A Large US Supermarket Chain) last May 2020. SAM did not deliver the gloves on time, and after continuous and persistent follow-up, they finally shipped the consignment of 1589 CNs in August 2020. The Bill of Lading and packing list mentioned 3000 CNs of nitrile gloves, but it was full of “used vinyl gloves and condoms.”
Horizon Max recently submitted the criminal complaint against SAM to the US Department of Justice. Read it here.
Consiliari Partners LTD issued a similar complaint.
Marek, a representative from Consiliari Partners LTD out of Europe said:
“We are glad you contacted us and sent us email for verification purposes and I hope that we can save your money from fraudulent suppliers as I am sure they will ask you for prepayment or LC based on FOB Vietnam conditions.” We were scammed by this supplier and we are in process of starting legal action in Vietnam against them.
We signed a contract with SAM Gloves for delivery of SAM Glove Nitrile Examination Gloves. They issued SGS, which is also being disputed right now. Although at that time, it gave us some hope and made us deposit with them the value of 1x40 ft container for trail purposes. They then shipped fake products to us. Unfortunately, the container that arrived in Europe had nothing to do with SAM Gloves and was loaded 1/3 with empty boxes of used vinyl gloves (a brand that is commonly copied in that region). The container seal was untouched, so definitely it was SAM Gloves that was the supplier and loader of this container.”
On May 12, 2020, Vietnamese media ran a story about SAM Factory getting caught importing used gloves from China.
SAM Factory apparently ships these used gloves and condoms to unsuspecting customers who do not require an inspection of the gloves in Vietnam. For those customers of SAM who do require inspections, Hai delays at the last moment and then cancels inspections and deliveries in Vietnam over and over again. Hai is a master manipulator, using a pipeline of excuses for delays after long periods of no responses at all. After a while, he just admits he doesn’t have the ability to manufacture the gloves, and then refuses to refund the money.
One customer Asther Trading out of Singapore had almost $600,000 stolen by Hai and SAM, a similar experience of that told by Free Health,Inc.; once Hai and SAM receives payment, a string of delays and inspection cancellations follows, with refusal to refund payment or dates to deliver the gloves that are impossible for SAM to achieve since it has no operational factory for glove manufacturing.
In Asther Trading’s case, Hai promised to pay Asther Trading back and even sent to Asther Trading confidential wire information, bank information, and a confidential email from Free Health, Inc., promising to pay back Asther Trading with money paid by another customer. Asther immediately contacted the US customer and sent the following email:
“I have gotten your contacts from a secret source in Vietnam and I noticed that you are transferring deposits for Nitrile gloves purchased in Vietnam.
Just to caution you and give you some advice. Please do not work with "Super Anti-Bacterial mask Production Company" aka "SAM factory". We are working with the local police to arrest its director "HUA HONG HAI". We have lost more than 600k USD in past transactions in Vietnam and if I can save you from this nightmare, I would be glad not to claim back my funds.”
Mr. Hua Hong Hai made a video to Asther Trading promising them to give money to them from Free Health once they received SAM received the monies from Free Health. The videos provided by Asther Trading as part of showing that SAM Factory was a fraud
Free Health contracted SAM for approximately $2 million of gloves on 22 December 2019, which were to be delivered in full by January 29. Hai made excuses, constantly delaying, canceling product and site inspections. Hai then disappeared for weeks with no response to Free Health’s demand for return of funds. On March 13, 2021, after Hai refused to return funds, he finally admitted to not owning a factory that could actually produce nitrile medical gloves but still said he was going to keep the money to continue building his glove manufacturing factory that would be soon operational.
To this, Free Health has this to say, “Hua Hong Hai is a master manipulator and a criminal mastermind, blaming everyone else, coming up with the perfect excuses, pretending he is the victim to supply chain delays, when he is actually leading and executing the perfect fraud. People have to know about this and stop funding his initial business investment costs.”
Building a factory to manufacture medical grade nitrile examination gloves requires tens of millions of dollars to do successfully. By the current empty state of SAM’s alleged factory locations, lack of equipment, and number of customers demanding refunds, it is unlikely SAM or Hai will be delivering under its contracts during this pandemic, or in the near future.
Phapluat TV/Legal News in Vietnam started to expose this criminal enterprise, and published the second story on SAM and his criminal activities on March 24, 2020.
Free Health and others are pursuing legal channels to recoup their stolen funds, while Hai and SAM continue to seek out unknowing international companies to lure into the trap. If you have been scammed or cheated by a company in the PPE space or by Super Antibacterial Mask Medical Material Production Joint Stock Company and Mr Hai please emailUs at firstname.lastname@example.org.