Former Rochester man pleads guilty to wire fraud in N95 mask scheme

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A former Rochester man who now lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia, has pleaded guilty to two different schemes, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Between 2011 and 2018, Christopher Parris, 41, and his business partner, Perry Santillo, defrauded investors of at least $115.5 million while doing business as Lucian Development.

Santillo has pleaded guilty for his involvement in the scheme as well.

Parris pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false tax return in the Ponzi scheme back in April of 2021.

Federal prosecutors say Parris offered to sell the Veterans Administration 125 million 3M N95 masks at $6.45 per mask, and attempted to secure a $3.075 million payment upfront, knowing he had no access to those masks. Prosecutors say he attempted to make similar fraudulent sales to several organizations and managed to get $7.4 million from at least eight of them.

He was charged with wire fraud for the mask scheme in April of 2020.

Parris has now admitted to his role in both schemes.

Parris is scheduled to be sentenced in December. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy for the Ponzi scheme and 30 years in prison for wire fraud in connection to a presidentially declared emergency, and 10 years in prison for committing the offense originally charged in the District of Columbia while on release from the Western District of New York.