The rise of fraudulent paperwork and masks happening across many European nations like Romania is because of illegal activity. There is a black market for paperwork that has been falsified. This black market has been the way inaccurate documents have been making its way into the country. Masks have become a needed go-to way of keeping people safe from COVID-19. Masks that were believed to be the correct respirator masks were able to get inside the country.
These masks were distributed by a company that creates electronics. The name of the company is Evatech Electronics. This company does not have a previous history or experience with creating or distributing medical supplies or devices. OCCRP reporters were given incorrect information. The documents that said these masks met European standards were falsified masks. This type of fraud has caused an uproar in Romania amongst other countries who have experienced the black market of paperwork and masks.
Oddly, this electronic supplier did not get into the medical space until two weeks before Romania declared an emergency about the pandemic. The company then rapidly transformed into a medical and pharmaceutical company. It even changed its name from Evatech Electronics to Eva Healthcare SRL.
Documents have a certification that acknowledges their legitimacy. It was easy for officials to believe these documents were real because these documents were issued by Ente Certificazione Machine (ECM), which is a certification company. This company happened to give out certifications to those who import masks and PPE. If an official is not watching closely, they can easily mistake the CE mark for being genuine on the paperwork.
The PPE standards are very strict for many reasons. The whole point of the strict standards is to ensure purchasers of the masks and other supplies is that they are getting the most accurate documents possible. ECM is not new to giving misleading information. The company experienced this two years ago in 2018. ECM has been investigated by Italian officials for misleading documentation for protective gear in 2016.
Reporters have found other forms of fraud by other companies. Masks and false documentation have been sold by a Polish company. The Polish company has voided any certificates that were issued between March 1 and March 26. Thus, ECM is not the only company to blame here. ECM CEO stated that her company is not taking on the blame or responsibility in the incorrect information about these masks.
Reporters were able to track the distribution of these masks by watching advertisements that listed the masks for sale. Tens of thousands of these masks have flooded the country. With online advertisements, there is a possibility that even more of these masks will be able to spread. The pictures of masks have even spread to larger platforms like Facebook. Facebook groups now have pictures of these masks claiming them to be accurate medical supplies. Pictures of ECM certifications have been removed. Hopefully, this fraud will soon come to an end as government officials tackle this fraud crime. Hopefully, the black market of masks and false documentation will come to an eventual end.