A 43-year-old Georgia man accused of selling pesticidal air purifiers misbranded as protections against COVID-19 is facing federal criminal charges.
Press Release, Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia Resident Arrested for Scheme to Sell Illegal Products Claiming to Protect Against COVID-19, 2020 WL 3097706 (June 11, 2020).
Stephen M. Shumaker appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge on charges of mail fraud and the knowing distribution and sale of a misbranded pesticidal device, according to an Environmental Protection Agency statement issued June 11.
The U.S. Justice Department alleges Shumaker solicited and defrauded thousands of Georgia residents by falsely claiming that an air purifier, Beyond Guardian Air, kills viral and bacterial infections, including the coronavirus.
The EPA says the device is a misbranded pesticidal device, implicating another violation of federal law.
The statement notes that the defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Shumaker’s sale of the product as COVID-19 protection placed unsuspecting buyers in danger and gave them false hopes, Department of Homeland Security special agent Robert Hammer said.
The EPA and Homeland Security collaborated on the investigation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Trade Commission.