Man Gets Probation For Selling Fake Virus Protection

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man who at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic sold devices designed to be worn around the neck that he falsely claimed protected against viruses and bacteria has been sentenced to a year of probation, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jiule Lin, 38, of Quincy, was also fined $1,500 at his sentencing Tuesday, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.

He pleaded guilty in December to distribution and sale of an unregistered pesticide.

Lin, starting in March 2020, listed for sale on eBay what was called a Toamit Virus Shut Out. It was a card-shaped device to be worn as a lanyard around the user’s neck, according to prosecutors.

Online listings for the product included the explicit claim that it would protect the wearer from viruses or bacteria, and that the product’s main ingredient was chlorine dioxide.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last April issued a warning about chlorine dioxide, saying it has “not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including COVID-19," and could even be dangerous.

A pesticide is any substance intended for preventing, destroying, or repelling any pest, including viruses, prosecutors said. Pesticides must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Toamit Virus Shut Out was not registered, and it is illegal to distribute or sell unregistered pesticides.