A British man accused of smuggling a phony coronavirus cure into the United States was charged Wednesday with a federal crime, prosecutors said.
Frank Richard Ludlow, 59, of West Sussex was charged in Los Angeles federal court with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and could face up to three years in federal prison if convicted, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
He was arrested last week on drug charges in the United Kingdom and remains in custody there, authorities said. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
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Prosecutors alleged that Ludlow, who isn't a doctor, had been selling people in California and Utah via mail a concoction called “Trinity Remedy" that he touted as a “miracle cure" for various ailments, according to a court affidavit.
“This cure' – later rebranded as ‘Trinity Mind, Body & Soul' – allegedly contained vitamin C, an enzyme mix, potassium thiocyanate, and hydrogen peroxide. Consumers were instructed to add 18 ounces of water, say a prayer, drink half of the solution, take a probiotic along with bee pollen, and then ingest the remainder of the solution," the U.S. attorney's office statement said.
Authorities say Ludlow sold between 300 and 400 of the treatment kits but in February or March of this year, as the coronavirus pandemic worsened, he began selling the kits under a new name: “Trinity COVID-19 SARS Antipathogenic Treatment.”
The treatments haven't been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for any medical use.
“Every major health authority has warned that there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection," according to the U.S. attorney's office.
“Hucksters who hawk ‘treatments’ for this deadly disease put consumers’ lives at risk by peddling unapproved drugs,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said.