Nov. 10, 2020 By Christian Murray
Two men who allegedly sold air sanitizers falsely claiming that their product killed the COVID-19 virus were busted by the feds today, authorities said.
The defendants, Po Shan Wong, 55, and Zhen Wu, 35, allegedly sold air sanitizers that they marketed on behalf of JCD Distribution, a College Point business, claiming that the product eradicated the novel coronavirus.
These claims, however, were false and the product did not provide consumers with protection from the virus, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn. Instead, the air sanitizers they were peddling contained dangerous pesticides that were not registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Wong, from Long Island, and Wu, from Flushing, allegedly advertised the product between May 2020 and July 2020 via the JCD website and Facebook page as well as over the phone. According to authorities, the pair who were managers for the company made untested claims regarding its effectiveness.
The air sanitizers they sold looked like credit cards and the pair pitched the product as providing constant on-the-go protection. The images on Facebook depicting the product—dubbed “Virus Shut Out Cards”–showed people wearing them on a lanyard around their neck or on a lapel of a man’s suit.
The cards were sold in minimum quantities of 50, at a cost of $9.50 per card.
The pair claimed via their online marketing that the cards emitted chlorine dioxide that provided protection from the virus. However, chlorine dioxide—a gas—is a bleaching agent and a pesticide as defined by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The gas can cause severe respiratory problems.
Authorities charged the pair with conspiring to distribute and sell one or more pesticides that are not registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. The pair each face up to a year in prison.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has opened a flood gate of fraudsters whose only goal is to take advantage of the public with bogus and unsubstantiated claims of virus protection products, such as this one,” said Philip Bartlett, the inspector in charge of the New York division of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
“Consumers should be skeptical of any device, elixir, lotion or potion claiming to prevent or cure COVID-19 because to date, there is no such product,” Bartlett added.