ATLANTA — The US Attorney's Office has accused a 34-year-old Fayetteville woman of selling illegal products claiming to protect against viruses.
“The defendant took advantage of the current worldwide crisis to sell an illegal product with the claim that it protects individuals from viruses,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We will take quick action through the Georgia COVID-19 Task Force to put a stop to criminals preying on the public with Coronavirus-related fraud schemes.”
Rong Sun -- also known as Vicky Sun -- faces federal charges of illegally selling an unregistered pesticide, illegally importing the unregistered pesticide, and mailing a prohibited article. She made an initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Alan J. Braverman in Atlanta on Wednesday.
“The sale of this product not only violates several federal laws, it also gives people a false hope. During a global crisis, like we are experiencing right now, it is incredibly dangerous and reckless to exploit people’s fear for profit,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI Atlanta, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, will continue to prioritize our efforts to protect Americans from COVID-19 fraud.”
According to Pak, the charges and other information presented in court, the defendant allegedly sold an unregistered pesticide -- Toamit Virus Shut Out, through eBay, claiming it would help protect individuals from viruses.
The product was marketed and sold as "Virus Shut Out" and "Stop the Virus." The eBay listing depicted the removal of viruses by wearing the product.
In addition, the eBay listing stated, “its main ingredient is ClO2, which is a new generation of widely effective and powerful fungicide recognized internationally at present. Bacteria and viruses can be lifted up within one meter of the wearer’s body, just like a portable air cleaner with its own protective cover.”
The listing also said, “In extraordinary times, access to public places and confined spaces will be protected by one more layer and have one more layer of safety protection effect, thus reducing the risks and probability of infection and transmission.”
It claimed that Toamit is "office and home essential during viral infections reduce transmission risk by 90%."
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, FIFRA, regulates the production, sale, distribution and use of pesticides in the United States. A pesticide is any substance intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. The term “pest” includes viruses.
Pesticides are required to be registered with the EPA. Toamit Virus Shut Out was not registered and it is illegal to distribute or sell unregistered pesticides.
In addition, Sun allegedly imported the pesticide from Japan, violating the anti-smuggling law and then sent it via U.S. Postal Service priority mail.
The Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, Homeland Security Investigations and US Postal Inspection Service are investigating this case.
Anyone who runs across suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 is asked to call the National Center for Disaster Fraud's hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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