Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, a weightlifter on Instagram and self-described ‘Genius Entrepreneur’, was arrested yesterday in the Los Angeles area for allegedly killing a cure for covid-19, the disease that has so far infected at least 69,210 Americans and has killed at least 1,046.
Middlebrook was arrested delivering pills to an undercover FBI agent posing as a potential investor, according to a Justice Department press release published online late Wednesday. Middlebrook allegedly claimed to have developed a “patent pending drug” for covid-19, but federal health authorities such as the FDA have repeatedly warned that there is no cure for the disease.
The 53-year-old Middlebrook is said to have requested funds from investors for a company he called Quantum Prevention CV Inc. called (QP20), and he even said that retired basketball star Magic Johnson would sit on the company’s board of directors. Johnson told the FBI that he had no knowledge of Middlebrook’s company.
From the DOJ press release:
QP20 is said to massively produce the pills that he claimed would prevent COVID-19, according to Middlebrook. After receiving investor funding, Middlebrook would issue shares in both QP20 and Quantum Cure CV 2020 (QC20), another alleged company that Middlebrook said would market the serum that could heal COVID-19 patients in two to three days, claims the complaint.
In communication with a co-operating witness, Middlebrook said, “I developed the cure for the CoronaVirus COVID-19 … * LA Patient tested Positive for CoronaVirus got up and walked away 51 hours after my injection,” the affidavit said. In the same text message, Middlebrook also wrote, “Investors entering the ground floor say that $ 1 million parachutes with $ 200 million – $ 300 million … conservative minimum.”
Middlebrook also leaned his claims on Instagram, writing last week, according to the DOJ:
Yes, I have developed the remedy for the CoronaVirus COVID-19. After 6 weeks of intense focus and development (and very little sleep). I am currently going into mass production. … The CDC, WHO and Mainstream Media have created a Pandemonium environment. To answer this (just because it’s what I do) I made a CoronaVirus Prevention Pill ”(after 3 days of taking the person is immune to the virus and STAYs immune as long as he keeps taking it once a day in the morning) and also the COVID-19 Formula Vaccine Cure to meet the physiological and phycological needs in general.
That Instagram post seems to have been removed since last night, but it is has been viewed more than 633,000 times, according to the FBI.
Middlebrook, who claimed to have a net worth on social media $ 30 million, is charged with one count of wire fraud, with a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
In an Instagram post from March 15Middlebrook wrote that he would reveal “how the Mainstream Media operates to distort and beautify the coronavirus,” echoing the claims of the far right media such as Fox News, the Federalist and even President Donald Trump that the covid-19 pandemic has been exaggeratedly hyped. According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, at least 491,623 people have been infected and 22,169 have died worldwide.
Middlebrook’s Instagram bio really says everything:
Real Iron Man, Genius Entrepreneur, Inventor: COVID19 Immunity & Coronavirus Cure, Speaker, 800 Scores Business Real Estate, Actor, Reverse Aging Inc.
Middlebrook appears to have been an early supporter of Donald Trump for President, and was retweeted at least four times in 2015 by the future wannabe authoritarian. Middlebrook’s Twitter account currently appears suspended for an unknown reason.
In true Trump supporter form, Middlebrook claimed in one Instagram post that he sued the federal government for $ 1 billion in damages. It is not clear whether such a lawsuit has actually been brought.
“There is a particularly opportunistic cruelty to profit seeking based on the fear and helplessness of others,” said Paul Delacourt, the FBI’s Deputy Director of the Los Angeles Field Office, in a statement. As the country responds to the current crisis, and while many suffer from the loss of a loved one or the loss of their livelihood, the last thing Americans need are scammers to cure miracle cures they know won’t be tested, guaranteed or approved . “
“The FBI uses several tools to identify anyone who exploits the current crisis through investment fraud or various cyber schemes,” Delacourt continued. “And proactively warns investors to thoroughly investigate sellers or products that claim to save lives before losing money or creating false hopes.”
This may be the first arrest related to covid-19 treatment, but it probably won’t be the last. Throughout history, people have tried to take advantage of miracles of miracles and empty promises. And our current crisis will lead shady people to exploit people pain and suffering through unimaginable greed.