Federal officials are busting doctors for COVID scams
After 12 months seizing oceans of fake pandemic-related medicine and equipment and starting more than 1,000 criminal investigations, Homeland Security’s Operation Stolen Promise has pivoted to focus on fake treatments and vaccine fraud.
HSI isn't alone. The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Postal Service are all doing their parts fo keep coronavirus fraud in check.
That's good, because this kind of fraud is pervasive, and it’s even coming from trusted sources. Read on for two recent examples.
San Diego Doctor Illegally Imported Drug for COVID profiteering
On July 16, 2021 Dr. Jennings Ryan Staley of San Diego pleaded guilty in federal court to smuggle over 26 lbs of hydroxychloroquine mislabeled as “sweet potato extract” from China, and stealing an employee’s identity to acquire the drug from a licensed pharmacy.
Jennings was included the hydroxychloroquine in $4,000 COVID treatment kits that he told patients would provide “at least six weeks of immunity” and a “one hundred percent” cure. Medical research never suggested that hydroxychloroquine, which treats malaria and autoimmune diseases such as lupus, was a 100% effective COVID treatment. Studies have since shown that the drug is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.
California ND charged with vaccine fraud
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California charged a licensed naturopathic doctor in Napa, California with selling ”homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets” to patients as a substitute for COVID-19 vaccinations
Court documents allege that she gave recipients vaccine cards with instructions about forging dates and lot numbers as if they had received the Moderna vaccine.
The allegations go beyond COVID, stating that parents of students in Ukiah, California submitted false vaccine records signed by this doctor after receiving “immunization pellets,” rather than the childhood shots California law requires for school.
Scams like these have a long history in the US, and have always been a threat to public health. We are grateful to federal agencies for working to protect Americans. Consult the links below for up-to-date information about Operation Stolen Promise and other federal initiatives.
Federal COVID News
- Homeland Security Investigations: Operation Stolen Promise
- Department of Justice: Coronavirus Response
- Federal Bureau of Investigations: COVID-19 News
- Federal Trade Commission: Coronavirus Enforcement Actions
- Food and Drug Administration: Fraudulent COVID-19 Products
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service: Coronavirus Related Scams