A man from the United Kingdom has been charged with smuggling mislabeled and unapproved “treatment kits” for patients with COVID-19 into the United States, the Department of Justice said Wednesday in a news release.
Frank Richard Ludlow, 59, of West Sussex, United Kingdom, was charged with one felony count of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
Ludlow is accused of smuggling the kits into the U.S. by shipping mislabeled packages with the kits to customers in California and Utah. According to an affidavit, Ludlow had a business relationship with a Utah woman dating back to May 2017 when he allegedly sold her “Trinity Remedy,” a “miracle cure” for her severe medical issues.
Ludlow’s “cure,” which was later rebranded as “Trinity Mind, Body & Soul,” allegedly contained vitamin C, an enzyme mix, potassium thiocyanate, and hydrogen peroxide, the DOJ reported. Customers were instructed to add 18 ounces of water, say a prayer, drink half of the solution, take a probiotic along with bee pollen and then ingest the remainder of the solution, the affidavit stated.
Officials said between May 2017 and March 2020, Ludlow sold his Utah customer between 300 and 400 treatments for $50 per kit, many of which she gave away, but some of which she sold for as much as $200, according to the affidavit.
According to the DOJ, when the COVID-19 crisis began to worsen on March 1, Ludlow repackaged preexisting “Trinity Remedy” kits as “Trinity COVID-19 SARS Antipathogenic Treatment” kits, despite the kits not being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19 or any other use.
Ludlow allegedly shipped the kits from the United Kingdom to Ogden, Utah and to the Forestville, California home of the Utah woman’s boyfriend. Ludlow allegedly also shipped kits to the Draper, Utah home of the woman’s parents.
Federal law enforcement intercepted the kits before they reached their intended destinations.
“Hucksters who hawk “treatments’ for this deadly disease put consumers’ lives at risk by peddling unapproved drugs,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement. “We are aggressively investigating all types of criminal activity associated with the current health emergency, and anyone attempting to cheat the public during this time will face severe penalties.”
Currently there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection, authorities said. And new drugs may not be legally introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce without prior FDA approval.
Ludlow was arrested by British law enforcement on March 23. He remains in custody in the U.K. and charged him with violating drug laws. He remains in custody in the U.K.
If convicted as charged, Ludlow faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.