March 2, 2011: California Residents Sentenced For Selling Phony Lyme Disease Cure
Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations
U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 2, 2011
United States Attorney
District of Kansas
Contact: Jim Cross, Public Affairs
KANSAS CITY, KAN. - Three California residents have been sentenced to serve time on federal probation and to pay restitution for taking part in a fraudulent marketing scheme to sell medical equipment and drug treatments for a nonexistent epidemic of Lyme disease.
Robert W. Bradford, 79, Chula Vista, Calif. He was sentenced to five years probation, a $400,000 forfeiture money judgment and $40,372 restitution. Bradford, who is not a medical doctor, was the founder of CRB, Inc., doing business as American Biologics.
Carole W. Bradford, 70, Chula Vista, Calif, was sentenced to five years probation, a $700,000 money judgment, and $40,372 restitution. Carole Bradford was the wife of Robert Bradford and chief executive officer of CRB, Inc.
Brigitte G. Byrd, 65, Chula Vista, Calif, was sentenced to three years probation, a $10,000 forfeiture money judgment and $40,372 restitution. She was a chief operating officer of CRB, Inc. In addition, the company CRB, Inc., was sentenced to five years probation, a $700,000 forfeiture money judgment, $40,000 restitution and a $1,000 fine.
The defendants pleaded guilty and admitted they were part of a conspiracy to commit mail fraud and to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. American Biologics distributed marketing materials calling Lyme disease the "Plague of the 21st Century" and claiming that more than 50 percent of chronically ill people may be suffering from Lyme Disease.
The defendants violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because they were not registered with the Food and Drug Administration to produce drugs or medical devices. Some of the drugs produced by American Biologics were shipped from California to co-defendant John Toth in Kansas. The drugs caused one individual in Kansas to experience renal failure and another individual in Kansas to lapse into a coma and die.
"In upholding our mandate, the Food and Drug Administration, through the Office of Criminal Investigations, will aggressively pursue those cases of modern-day snake oil salesmen, those individuals and businesses that prey on the sick and vulnerable," said Patrick J. Holland, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations.
Grissom commended the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask and John Claud, trial attorney with the Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation for their work on the case.