A Southern California doctor was jailed on Friday for trying to smuggle hydroxychloroquine into the United States and selling it as a “miracle cure” for COVID-19, officials said.
Doctor Jennings Ryan Staley, 44, admitted working with a Chinese supplier to illegally import a barrel he believed contained 26 pounds of the anti-malarial drug, which court documents said was mistakenly labeled “yam extract”.
Staley admitted he wanted to sell hydroxychloroquine powder in capsules as part of his bogus business plan.
He was selling COVID-19 “treatment kits” in March and April 2020 as the pandemic began to spread across the United States and months before vaccines were available.
Hydroxychloroquine was once touted by former President Donald Trump as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.
According to court documents, the doctor was also looking for investors for his company – promising one person he could “triple your money in 90 days”.
Staley admitted to writing a prescription for the increasingly hard-to-find drug in his employee’s name and personal information. He answered pharmacists’ questions to fill out the script as if he were the clerk, without the clerk’s consent, court documents show.
The COVID “treatment kits” were sold at Staley’s Skinny Beach Med Spas locations in and around San Diego.
Law enforcement agencies were alerted to the scam by several citizens affected by the marketing campaign, federal prosecutors said.
Staley described his kits as a “definite” cure, a “silver bullet,” an “amazing weapon,” and “almost too good to be true,” according to court documents in interviews with an undercover FBI agent. The doctor promised the products would provide at least six weeks of immunity to the virus.
An undercover agent bought six of Staley’s “treatment kits” for $4,000. During a recorded phone conversation with the undercover agent, Staley boasted about how he “smuggled out the last tank of … hydroxychloroquine, smuggled out of China, Sunday night at 1:00 a.m. … the broker … sort of, otherwise tricked customs by claiming.” , it is sweet potato extract,” documents show.
In a later phone call with the agent, Staley suddenly offered to throw in unsolicited doses of generic Viagra and Xanax — a federally controlled substance. Staley never asked a single medical question about the agent’s alleged family members, including his three alleged teenage children, during the transaction.
Staley also admitted to lying to federal officials during their investigation because he denied ever promising clients his treatment was 100 percent effective, telling investigators “that would be stupid.”
He said he had “absolutely” gathered relevant information from family members, although a week earlier he had sold a “family pack” of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, generic Viagra, Xanax and azithromycin to the undercover cop without asking for information from family members.
Staley was charged with illegal importation and sentenced to 30 days in prison and a year of house arrest, federal officials said Friday.
A judge also ordered Staley to pay a $10,000 fine and confiscate the $4,000 he took from the undercover agent, over 4,500 pills of various drugs, several bags of empty pill capsules, and a manual capsule filling machine. said federal officials.
“At the height of the pandemic, before vaccines were available, this doctor was trying to capitalize on patients’ fears,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said. “He betrayed his position of trust and undermined the integrity of the entire medical profession. We are committed to enforcing United States law and protecting patients, including prosecuting physicians who choose to commit crimes.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/30/socal-doctor-jennings-ryan-staley-sentenced-for-trying-to-import-drugs-to-hock-his-covid-19-miracle-cure/ SoCal doctor Jennings Ryan Staley has been convicted of attempting to import drugs to interfere with his “miracle cure” for COVID-19.