COVID Feature: Still Waiting on a Cure

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Pills spilling out of a prescription bottle on 100 dollar paper currency

Scientists are months, possibly years away from developing a working coronavirus vaccine due to the amount of strenuous testing and development required. Despite this, some fraudsters are claiming they already have effective “cures” for those suffering from COVID-19. One Southern California man stands accused of fraudulently claiming he has a coronavirus cure. (As if a legitimate cure for coronavirus wouldn’t have already made national headlines.)

Keith Middlebrook, of Huntington Beach, allegedly tried to convince investors from Nevada, New York, Texas, and Colorado that his companies were on the verge of selling pills that would prevent coronavirus infections. He also claimed that he was in the midst of developing an injectable cure for those currently suffering from coronavirus. (You have to wonder what he was going to tell investors when his “company” never released any drugs.)

Middlebrook attempted to market his supposed cure known as ‘QC20’ and preventative medicine known as ‘QP20’. Advertisements were distributed on various web platforms including Instagram and YouTube. He also reached out to potential investors through text messages, videos, and formalized statements. (Nothing says professional and legitimate like appealing to investors through a YouTube video.)  

Other fraudulent and outlandish claims were also made in an attempt to attract investors to his COVID-19 fraud scheme. Middlebrook falsely asserted that an unnamed party in Dubai had offered to purchase his companies for $10 billion and that any investments made would be secure. He also claimed that he had secured funding from seven investors. (Each investor supposedly invested between $750,000 and $1 million.)

An undercover FBI agent posed as an investor for Middlebrook’s Quantum Prevention CV Inc. and was able to gain valuable information which led to his arrest on March 25. During this meeting, Middlebrook falsely disclosed that one of his investors was former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson. (One thing is certain – it would definitely take some magic to get Middlebrook out of this COVID-19 fraud situation.)  

A federal grand jury indicted Middlebrook on 11 counts of wire fraud. Each of the 11 counts could carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. (Let’s hope by then we have a cure for COVID-19, no thanks to this fraudster.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Southern California man indicted in COVID-19 fraud scam,” published by L.A. BIZ on June 15, 2020.

A Southern California man who allegedly claimed he had treatments and cures for Covid-19 was indicted for fraud on Friday.

A federal grand jury indicted Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, 52, of Huntington Beach on 11 counts of wire fraud.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.