A Southern California man who claimed to have developed a cure for COVID-19 and soliciting for investments in his company, has been arrested by the FBI.
The 53-year-old man identified as Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, solicited for investment in his company with claims of Earvin “Magic” Johnson being in his board of directors.
In a statement released by the U.S. Justice Department officials, it was gathered that at least 2 million people have seen YouTube and Instagram videos that falsely claim he created a coronavirus prevention pill and an injectable cure for those already infected.
Middlebrook was arrested on Wednesday March 25, on a federal complaint of wire fraud, carrying a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted. The federal case is believed to be one of the first in US connected to an alleged coronavirus scam.
U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said;
“During these difficult days, scams like this are using blatant lies to prey upon our fears and weaknesses.
“While this may be the first federal criminal case in the nation stemming from the pandemic, it certainly will not be the last. I again am urging everyone to be extremely wary of outlandish medical claims and false promises of immense profits.”
Middlebrook has an Instagram account with about 2.4 million followers. The man who claimed to have studied cell tissue and chemical biology for years, in several videos shared on YouTube, claimed to have invented a pill that cures and prevents COVID-19.
He said in one of the videos;
“Yes I created the cure that shuts down the COVID-19, that makes the cells from the coronavirus detach, release and die within 48 hours.
“I’m immune to catching the coronavirus.”
Middlebrook who revealed that he takes the pill every morning in one of the videos which has been viewed 1 million times, was arrested after he delivered pills to an undercover agent who was posing as an investor. He said his company would produce and market the pills and said investors could earn hundreds of millions of dollars on a $1 million investment.
It should however be noted that there is no approved cure or vaccine for coronavirus at this time.