Ex-Pitt official admits to to stealing more than 13,000 masks from the University

By Punya Bhasin, Assistant News Editor

Pitt’s former emergency management director Christopher Casamento admitted on Wednesday to stealing more than 13,000 masks from the University and selling them on eBay for profit.

Casamento, 42, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. Casamento was indicted by a federal grand jury last year and terminated by the University in July 2020.

The Department of Justice said in a press release that the FBI was informed by PayPal that a vendor on Ebay named “Steel City Motor Toys” sold more than 13,000 masks — primarily Aura N-95 Masks, surgical masks and particulate masks — at inflated prices during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic from Feb. 28, 2020, to March 22, 2020. The masks were also shipped to buyers in states outside of Pennsylvania.

FBI officials confirmed that Casamento was the registered owner of Steel City Motor Toys. He earned about $18,783.50. Casamento had access to Pitt’s supply of personal protective equipment as the head of emergency management.

The court scheduled Casamento’s sentencing for June 15 at 9:30 a.m. The law stipulates Casamento’s total sentencing to be no more than 10 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $250,000 or a term of supervised release of no more than three years.