RED BLUFF — The owner of Amazing Finds in Red Bluff was arrested Friday on a warrant and charged with price gouging for sales of M3 N95 masks amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in March.
Rene Umali, 59, of Red Bluff, was booked into Tehama County Jail Friday on $3,000 bail, according to a press release issued Friday by the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Matt Rogers’ office received a tip from the public in March that the store, at the corner of Cedar and Madison streets, had increased the price of M3 N95 masks after the pandemic started locally. An investigation ensued and a search warrant was served at the business on March 31.
Around 1,000 masks were seized along with business records showing the masks had originally been priced around the national average before Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency March 4. The store increased the price by around 400 percent following the declaration.
California law generally prohibits businesses from increasing the cost of goods more than 10 percent during a declared state of emergency, the release said.
Anyone who has purchased a mask from the store in the last six months, either in person or online, is asked to call Investigator Supervisor Kevin Hale at 529-3590.
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