TMZ reports that Keith Lawrence Middlebrook was busted after agreeing to deliver pills to an undercover agent that he falsely claimed represented a "patent-pending cure" for the novel coronavirus. The faux cure, he claimed, would keep people from contracting the virus while also treating those who had already tested positive.
Through his company Quantum Prevention CV, Middlebrook vowed massive profits when soliciting funds from potential investors, with one cooperating witness informing authorities that they were told an investment of $1 million could be flipped into as much as $300 million. Additionally, Middlebrook alleged to have Magic Johnson aboard the operation as a potential investor. Once FBI officials asked Johnson about this, however, they learned that he had no idea who Middlebrook was, nor was he familiar with Quantum Prevention CV.
Middlebrook is now charged with wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
In a press release earlier this month, the DOJ warned the public that similar efforts of attempted COVID-19 exploitations were afoot, including the peddling of fake cures and charity scams.
"The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated," Attorney General William Barr said.
The faux cure industry last hit headlines when televangelist Jim Bakker was sued by the state of Missouri for selling products including a "Silver Sol Liquid" under the false guise of treating, preventing, diagnosing, and/or curing the virus.