EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA) – A man from Los Angeles is accused of fraudulently posting videos on social media sites. He says it is designed as a pill not only to cure, but also to prevent a new coronavirus to get money from investors.
According to federal investigators, Keith Middlebrook, 53, who claims to own homes in Newport Beach, Murrayet and Westwood, investors promised huge profits for the unproven treatment he allegedly created.
The Attorney General’s office of Switzerland claims that 53-year-old Keith Middlebrook tried to get money from investors by posting information on social networks about a fake coronavirus drug. (Source: Keith Middlebrook/Instagram)
Not only did I make a cure, but this pill is also a prevention, Middlebrook said in a video on Instagram.
More than two million people watched YouTube and Instagram from Middlebrook, where authorities said he falsely claimed to have developed the pill to prevent COVID-19 and a cure for those already infected.
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U.S. attorney Nick Hannah said of FaceTime that Middlebrook is a brutal crook who allegedly used the fear of the growing pandemic to make a profit.
I think it’s disgusting, Hannah. It’s time for all Americans to get together and help each other, and unfortunately there are a few people who see this as an opportunity to lie, cheat and steal and try to take advantage of their neighbors.
Hannah said the FBI agents arrested Middlebrook’s Wednesday in El Segundo after he met an undercover agent posing as a potential investor. Researchers said that Middlebrook promised that an initial investment of $300,000 would easily yield a profit of $30 million.
Investigators also said Middlebrook provided pills that he believed would prevent people from contracting the coronavirus. We didn’t know right away what was in the pills.
Middlebrook was accused of bank transfer fraud with a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
From a federal law enforcement perspective, this is a very important priority, according to Hanna. We are on board and we will vigorously pursue those who are trying to take advantage of this crisis.
Middlebrook was arrested by federal authorities Wednesday night and scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.