In a stunning turn of events, a Utah man who had been on the run for three years was finally apprehended after posing as a doctor and attempting to sell a fake COVID-19 cure. According to a report from Town Hall, Gordon Hunter Pederson, a 63-year-old resident of Cedar Hills, Utah, was arrested by authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest on August 25, 2020. The warrant followed his failure to appear in federal court in response to an indictment. The charges levied against Pederson include mail fraud, wire fraud, and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with fraudulent intent.
The initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic were fraught with uncertainty and fear as the world grappled with the virus’s rapid spread. During this time, before the advent of vaccines, Pederson emerged on the scene as a seller of a dubious product he called “structural alkaline silver.” This product was touted by Pederson as having the power to neutralize the virus by resonating at a frequency that purportedly destroyed the virus’s membrane. Pederson’s claims were debunked by experts, but his charisma and alleged medical background helped him garner some attention.
In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office highlighted that Pederson’s YouTube videos were rife with false information. He claimed to be a board-certified “anti-aging medical doctor” and asserted that he held Ph.D. degrees in both immunology and Naturopathic Medicine. Such claims were unfounded and designed to lend an air of authority to his fraudulent enterprise. A civil restraining order was eventually imposed in 2020, curtailing Pederson’s ability to peddle his concoction.
Judy McMeekin, Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, addressed the issue in 2020, asserting the agency’s commitment to safeguarding public health: “The FDA is actively monitoring the marketplace for fraudulent products represented as preventing, curing, or treating COVID-19. Americans expect and deserve treatments that are safe, effective and meet appropriate standards, and the agency will continue to bring to justice those who place profits above the public health during this pandemic.”
Pederson’s recent capture was the result of meticulous surveillance efforts by law enforcement authorities. The culmination of their hard work led to his appearance in court, marking a significant step in the pursuit of justice for his deceitful actions.
Interestingly, Pederson’s case is not an isolated incident of individuals exploiting the pandemic for personal gain. In a separate case, four members of a Florida family were convicted for their involvement in selling a toxic industrial bleach masquerading as a COVID-19 cure. Mark Grenon and his sons Jonathan, Joseph, and Jordan were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and distribute misbranded drugs. The family had generated a staggering $1 million in revenue by selling their “Miracle Mineral Solution,” falsely claiming it could cure 95 percent of known diseases. The solution, as CBS News reported, contained chlorine dioxide and was being marketed as a panacea.
These cases serve as stark reminders of the need for vigilance in the face of unscrupulous actors seeking to exploit public fear and desperation during times of crisis. As the world continues to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic, the pursuit of justice against those who prey on the vulnerable remains a critical endeavor.