California doctor charged with fraud for selling “COVID-19 treatment kits”

A California doctor was charged with fraud for sale coronavirus online treatment kits including hydroxychloroquine, the disputed drug Donald trump touts as the remedy for COVID-19.

Jennings Ryan Staley, 44, a licensed physician and owner of the Skinny Beach Med Spa in San Diego, was charged with mail fraud on Thursday, the United States’ attorney’s office for the Southern District of California announced.

He sold “ COVID-19 treatment packs ” that included the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in a “ concierge experience ” for $ 3,995 for a family of four.

The package also included access to Dr. Staley and “anti-anxiety treatments to help you avoid panic if necessary and help you sleep,” said prosecutors.

Dr. Staley’s lawyer says he followed the example of President Trump and the government executive in prescribing the drugs.

Thursday, California, Dr. Jennings Ryan Staley, 44, was charged with postal fraud for selling “ COVID-19 treatment kits ” including hydroxychloroquine and claiming to have cured the new coronavirus

A view of the Staley 'COVID-19' pack illustrated above. He came up with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin drugs and anti-anxiety treatments

A view of the Staley ‘COVID-19’ pack illustrated above. He came up with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin drugs and anti-anxiety treatments

While Trump hailed the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a “ 100 percent ” remedy for COVID-19, doctors warn that there is little evidence regarding the actual benefits of the drug.

However, doctors have been taking it for coronavirus patients for weeks because the drug is known to calm the immune system, although there have been no intensive clinical trials showing that the drug works against COVID- 19.

Some early reports from doctors in China and France indicated that hydroxychloroquine, sometimes combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, appeared to help COVID-19 patients.

Skinny Beach Med Spa offers beauty-related services, including Botox, hair removal and fat transfer. They started advertising the packs in late March and the FBI launched an investigation following a tip.

Dr. Staley told the FBI agent over the phone that he was selling the antimalarial drug identified as hydroxychloroquine, saying it “cures the disease.”

“It is preventive and curative,” he said, according to prosecutors. “It’s hard to believe, it’s almost too good to be true. But it is a remarkable clinical phenomenon. “

Staley told the FBI agent over the phone that the drug

Staley told the FBI agent over the phone that the drug “cures the disease” and that it is a “remarkable clinical phenomenon”

Skinny Beach Med Spa offers beauty-related services, including Botox, hair removal and fat transfer. They started advertising the packs in late March and the FBI opened an investigation following a tip

Skinny Beach Med Spa offers beauty-related services, including Botox, hair removal and fat transfer. They started advertising the packs in late March and the FBI opened an investigation following a tip

In that phone call, he mentioned another antimalarial drug called mefloquine which he said he would sell if he lacked hydroxychloroquine.

He said the two drugs could completely cure the new coronavirus and that the treatment would make a person immune for at least six weeks.

He then told the officer, “There are no guarantees in life. There is no guarantee of anything.

A week later, Staley was interviewed by the FBI and said it would be “stupid” to tell patients that the treatments are 100% effective in fighting COVID-19.

“ We will not tolerate Covid-19 fraudsters who try to take advantage of the fear of the pandemic to deceive, steal and harm others, ” said Robert S. Brewer Jr., the U.S. lawyer for the southern district. from California in the declaration.

“Rest assured: those who engage in this despicable conduct will find themselves in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors,” he added.

Dr. Staley’s lawyer Patrick Griffin said his client was following the lead of the executive branch of government in prescribing the drugs.

He claims that he is being unfairly prosecuted.

Dr. Staley's lawyer Patrick Griffin said his client was following the example of the executive branch of government in prescribing medications, including hydroxychloroquine. Stock Image - Hydroxychloroquine Pills Above

Dr. Staley’s lawyer Patrick Griffin said his client was following the example of the executive branch of government in prescribing medications, including hydroxychloroquine. Stock Image – Hydroxychloroquine Pills Above

“ The same executive branch that has been touting these two drugs for weeks has turned around and accused a veteran Iraqi veteran, Dr. Staley, of criminal charges, without criminal record, of having done exactly the same thing as the administration did. this time, ” Griffin said in a statement to New York Times.

Griffin argued that his client truly believed he was helping people and said that the treatment kits were sold at a fair price.

He said that Staley even gave the undercover agent two free agents. The opposite of someone’s scam.

Griffin said, “What we have here is really a dispute over what a doctor believes is in the best interests of his patients.”

However, US deputy prosecutor Robert Huie said the case involved false curative allegations regarding the drug.

“Our case is not about the doctor touting the drugs. It’s not about whether the drugs are good or bad, it’s about telling patients, potential customers, in order to sell their services, that what it offers is a 100% remedy and that it confers temporary immunity.

Staley faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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