LOS ANGELES – The FBI has arrested a Southern California man who officials claimed falsely claimed to have made a overcome for the coronavirus and solicited investments in a company he claimed would marketplace the treatment, federal prosecutors said.
Keith Lawrence Middlebrook informed his 2.4 million Instagram followers that his firm would return hundreds of tens of millions of dollars in revenue, the U.S Section of Justice mentioned in a statement Wednesday.
Middlebrook claimed he had designed pills that would reduce COVID-19 infections and an injectable drug that would get rid of individuals now suffering from the virus, prosecutors stated.
There are no recognized cures or vaccinations for the coronavirus. The federal circumstance is believed to be one of the first in the U.S. related to an alleged coronavirus cure fraud, prosecutors claimed.
Middlebrook, 53, could experience a single felony rely of attempted wire fraud. It was not regarded Thursday if he has an legal professional who could comment on his behalf.
He was arrested throughout a meeting in which he shipped pills to an undercover FBI agent posing as an investor, officials reported.
Middlebrook claimed former basketball superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson was 1 of the traders in his company, Quantum Avoidance CV Inc., the Justice Section statement stated. Johnson instructed investigators that he knew almost nothing about Middlebrook’s company, the assertion said.
In textual content messages Middlebrook wrote that a Los Angeles affected individual who was remaining handled for the virus “received up and walked out 51 hrs right after my injection,” according to an affidavit from investigators.
In the exact same textual content, Middlebrook also wrote that traders who expend $1 million could see returns of “$200M – $300M… conservative minimal,” the affadivit reported.
“Through these hard times, frauds like this are employing blatant lies to prey upon our fears and weaknesses,” U.S. Legal professional Nick Hanna mentioned.
Middlebrook, an actor with several uncredited film and television sections, experienced a federal court docket appearance Thursday, where by a choose established his arraignment for April 16. If convicted as billed he could deal with up to 20 years in jail.
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