SoCal Jennings doctor Ryan Staley sentenced for trying to import drugs to snag his ‘miracle cure’ for COVID-19

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A Southern California doctor was sentenced to prison on Friday for attempting to smuggle hydroxychloroquine into the United States and touting it as a “miracle cure” COVID-19 treatment, officials said. officials.

Jennings doctor Ryan Staley, 44, admitted to working with a Chinese supplier to illegally import a barrel he believed to contain 26 pounds of the antimalarial drug mislabeled as “yam extract”, according to court documents.

Staley admitted he wanted to sell hydroxychloroquine powder in capsules as part of his bogus business plan.

He peddled COVID-19 “treatment kits” in March and April 2020 as the pandemic began to spread in the United States and months before vaccines were available.

Hydroxychloroquine has previously been touted by former President Donald Trump as a potential coronavirus treatment.

According to court documents, the doctor also sought investors in his business – promising one person he could “triple your money in 90 days”.

Staley admitted writing a prescription for the increasingly hard-to-find drug in his employee’s name and with personal information. He answered pharmacists’ questions to complete the script as if he were the employee without the employees’ consent, according to court documents.

COVID “treatment kits” have been sold in and around San Diego at Staley’s Skinny Beach Med Spas locations.

Law enforcement was tipped off about the scam by several citizens affected by the marketing campaign, federal prosecutors said.

The kits were sold in and around San Diego.
DOJ

Staley described his kits as a ‘one hundred percent cure’, a ‘magic bullet’, an ‘incredible weapon’ and ‘almost too good to be true’, in conversations with an undercover FBI agent, court documents show. . The doctor promised that the products would provide at least six weeks of immunity against the virus.

An undercover agent purchased six of Staley’s “treatment kits” for $4,000. In a recorded phone call with the undercover agent, Staley bragged that he “got the last tank of… hydroxychloroquine, smuggled out of China, Sunday night at 1 a.m.… the broker… the smuggled out, so to speak, if not tricked customs into saying it was sweet potato extract,” documents show.

In a subsequent phone call with the agent, Staley suddenly offered to throw in unsolicited doses of generic Viagra and Xanax – a federally controlled substance. Staley never asked a single medical question during the transaction about the agent’s alleged family members, including his three alleged minor children.

Staley also admitted to lying to federal agents during their investigation for denying he ever promised clients that his treatment was 100% effective, telling investigators “that would be insane.”

He said he “absolutely” gathered relevant information from his family members despite selling a “family pack” of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, generic Viagra, Xanax and azithromycin to the undercover officer a week earlier, without asking family members for information.

Staley was charged with unlawful importation and was sentenced to 30 days in police custody and one year in house arrest, federal officials said Friday.

A judge also ordered Staley to pay a $10,000 fine and give up the $4,000 he took from the undercover officer as well as more than 4,500 tablets of various pharmaceuticals, several bags of empty pill capsules and a manual capsule-filling machine, federal officials said.

“At the height of the pandemic, before vaccines were available, this doctor sought to take advantage of patient fears,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “He abused his position of trust and undermined the integrity of the entire medical profession. We are committed to upholding United States laws and protecting patients, including prosecuting physicians who choose to commit crimes. »

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