The woman was charged in April after authorities learned she was selling the unregistered pesticide on eBay by advertising it as a product that would keep consumers safe amid the global pandemic.

Fayetteville woman pleads guilty to selling illegal pesticide she said fought COVID-19

A Fayetteville woman who sold an illegal pesticide she claimed would protect against COVID-19 has pleaded guilty, authorities said Friday. 

Rong Sun, 34, was charged in April after authorities learned she was selling the unregistered pesticide on eBay by advertising it as a product that would keep consumers safe amid the global pandemic. 

According to federal prosecutors, Sun imported the product, Toamit Virus Shut Out, from Japan in violation of anti-smuggling laws. She then sold it to unsuspecting customers across the U.S. 

The chemical was marketed as “Virus Shut Out” and “Stop The Virus,” and the eBay listing claimed the product could lift viruses and bacteria one meter above a wearer’s body, “just like a portable air cleaner,” authorities said. 

The woman claimed the illegal pesticide would keep consumers safe amid the global pandemic, authorities said.
Photo: Department of Justice

Sun also claimed the product could reduce the virus transmissions by 90%.

RELATED: Feds charge Georgia woman with selling illegal product she said would fight coronavirus

There is no known cure for COVID-19. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. has surpassed 100,000.

“Playing on people’s fears during this pandemic by offering false hope and the empty promise of protection is not only dangerous, it’s also reprehensible and illegal,” said Special Agent Robert Hammer, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations in Georgia and Alabama. 

Prosecutors said the product Sun sold is classified as a pesticide since it claims to kill viruses and bacteria. However, it was not registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, as is required in order to sell pesticides in the U.S.

Sun pleaded guilty to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. She faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine during her sentencing hearing June 29, prosecutors said.

Sun’s attorney, Paul Kish, said his client was told about the product and learned it was widely used in Asia.

“Like many people, my client feared for the health of her family,” Kish said in a written statement. “She did not think it was illegal or harmful, as demonstrated by the photo in her phone showing her young child wearing the product. We fully recognize that the EPA needs to prevent unregistered pesticides from being imported and sold, and we appreciate that the government agreed to resolve this case with a misdemeanor guilty plea.”

In other news:

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.

Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.