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Lysol-wipe COVID profiteer sentenced for extortion of estranged Burnaby wife

Man sentenced for extortion

A man who made the news at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic for hoarding Lysol wipes to sell online for a profit has been sentenced for threatening to release intimate videos of his estranged Burnaby wife if she didn't give him more time with their kids.

Mandeep Kumar Ranga, 41, pleaded guilty last year to one count of extortion and one count of breaching a release order.

He was in Vancouver provincial court Tuesday for sentencing.

Ranga and his wife, who now lives in Burnaby, separated in July 2020, according to information presented in court.

On July 29, 2021, he sent her a text message with three videos taken in 2015 of the couple engaged in sexual acts.

"You better give me back my things you took and let me see the kids else this will be sent to everyone, even the lawyers and your whole family and everywhere you think and all over the internet," stated the text.

Ranga was bound by a peace bond at the time, which included a ban on contacting his ex except through lawyers or by text to arrange parenting time.

At the time he agreed to that peace bond, Ranga had acknowledged she had a reasonable basis to fear for her safety from him.

(Ranga had assaulted her before, in September 2014, and was sentenced to 14 days' jail and 18 months' probation.)

His wife reported the July 2021 extortion to police, and Ranga was put on another court order banning him from contacting her, but he sent her more texts on Dec. 21, 2021.

"I'm not here to make problems for anyone," stated the texts in part. "You want to keep fighting me in court, that's fine. I can't stop you. You always send me to jail and call the police. Does that make you happy? Up to you. I'm just being honest with you, and I said I'm sorry so many times for that day what happened else we'll have to deal with lawyers for the next 18 years if you want that."

On Tuesday, B.C. provincial court Judge Patricia Stark handed Ranga a six-month conditional sentence to be followed by two years of probation for the extortion and the violation of the court order.

Stark listed Ranga's criminal record, which includes convictions for drugs, fraud, assault, two intimate partner assaults and breaching court orders, as an aggravating factor in the case.

The nature of the extortion was also aggravating, according to Stark, as it was committed in the context of an intimate partner relationship.

"A very secure and private part of me has been violated," Ranga's estranged wife had said in a victim impact statement.

Among factors in Ranga's favour, Stark noted his guilty plea, his steps at rehabilitation, his employment, his commitment to his children and his family support.

Ranga has an anti-social personality disorder and an alcohol and cocaine use disorder that make his risk to reoffend "at least moderate," according to a psychological assessment in the case.

During his six-month conditional sentence, Ranga will be under a 9 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew and banned from using drugs or alcohol.

He is also banned from contacting his ex and a number of her family members.

It's not the first time Ranga has served a conditional sentence.

He earned a similar sentence for an incident at a North Vancouver condo building in February 2015, according to court documents.

In March 2020, amid panic buying at the beginning of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Toronto Star reporter came upon Ranga and his then wife at a Vancouver Costco loading up their pickup with Lysol wipes.

Ranga explained to the reporter they were hitting up Costcos in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby every day to buy up all the Lysol wipes and cleaning liquid on hand so they could resell them on Amazon for a profit.

Ranga told the reporter they had spent about $70,000 in bulk buys and raked in about $100,000 in sales.

Amazon suspended the couple's account after the story broke.



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