Social media often becomes a breeding ground for scammers who propose all sorts of solutions to everyday challenges that life throws at you— making money, getting healthy, improving your dating life and whatnot. But with coronavirus pandemic becoming a widespread issue, we now see a horde of scammers proposing various “cures” to get rid of the virus.
Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, a self-proclaimed “Genius Entrepreneur”, has been arrested for spreading false claims about knowing the cure for the coronavirus, alongside making other claims such as saying that President Trump had the virus “nipped in the bud.”
While there exists no cure or vaccine to the COVID-19, Instagram’s very own “Genius Entrepreneur” claimed that he had pills that prevented the virus as well as a “patent-pending” injectable for curing the ones who have already been infected.
His claims, as his video where he talks about the “cure,” has racked up 2 million views across YouTube and Instagram.
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Here’s what his current Instagram bio reads: “Real Iron Man, Genius Entrepreneur, Inventor: COVID 19 Immunity & Coronavirus Cure, Speaker, 800 Scores Business Real Estate, Actor, Reverse Aging Inc”.
Apart from asking people not to worry about the pandemic, Middlebrook also offered some generic diet advice asking people to eat lean proteins such as tuna and chicken to fight the coronavirus. What’s more, he also advised people to consume mineral supplements twice a day.
The Real Iron Man, however, was arrested when he pitched his business idea to an FBI agent disguised as an investor. According to Middlebrook, investing in his fraudulent Quantum Prevention CV Inc (QP20) would allow an investor to make as much as $100 million by investing $1 million only.
In text messages, Middlebrook said that an LA patient who was being treated for the virus “got up and walked out 51 hours after my injection,” according to an affidavit.
In the same message, Middlebrook also said that investors who spent $1 million could get returns of “$200M – $300M conservative minimum,” the affidavit said.
Middlebrook is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court today and, if convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
And it just doesn’t stop there. Middlebrook also went on to falsely claim that Magic Johnson, the retired basketball player, was an investor in his venture. The former Lakers player made it clear that he was no way connected to the whole debacle.
Warning netizens to beware of fraudsters such as Middlebrook, here’s what a US attorney Nick Hanna had to say:
“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.”