QUINCY, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Quincy man pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston Thursday in connection with selling a lanyard that falsely claimed to protect against viruses, including COVID-19.
According to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, 38-year-old Jiule Lin of Quincy pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of distribution and sale of an unregistered pesticide.
Beginning in March and April 2020, Lelling's office said Lin listed for sale on eBay an unregistered pesticide, “Toamit Virus Shut Out,” to buyers across the United States.
Based on Lin’s eBay listing, the pesticide took the form of a card-shaped device to be worn as a lanyard around the user’s neck. The listing depicted the removal of germs or viruses through the wearing of the device.
Other online listings for the same product included the explicit claim that the product would protect the buyer or wearer of the product from viruses or bacteria, stating that the product’s main ingredient was chlorine dioxide and showed images of the device’s purported removal of bacteria, germs and viruses.
"At the height of a raging pandemic killing thousands of people a day, this defendant tried to profit from conning people into believing that a pesticide-coated lanyard would protect them from viruses like COVID-19. This was dangerous, opportunistic fraud," Lelling said. "We will always pursue these kinds of cases - I have zero tolerance for people who take advantage of the fears of others during a national health crisis."
Tyler Amon, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division for New England, said the EPA and its law enforcement partners will continue to focus efforts on stopping the sale of the illegal products.
"Pesticides must be registered with the EPA," Lelling's office said. "Toamit Virus Shut Out was not registered, and it is illegal to distribute or sell unregistered pesticides."
Lin could face up to one year in prison and a fine of $25,000. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Written by Brit Smith
(Photo: Getty Images)