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

A Fayetteville woman faces federal charges after prosecutors said she smuggled an illegal pesticide into the United States and tried to sell it under the claim that it would protect people against the coronavirus.

U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said Rong Sun, 34, “took advantage of the current worldwide crisis to sell an illegal product.”

The charges against Sun come as the U.S. battles the growing coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, there were more than 10,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Georgia and over 460,000 in the country.

According to prosecutors, Sun imported the product, Toamit Virus Shut Out, from Japan, which violated anti-smuggling laws. She then allegedly advertised the product on eBay, Pak said.

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The eBay listing said wearing the pesticide would help protect people from viruses, Pak said.

Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

“Additionally, the listing stated that ‘its main ingredient is ClO2,’” Pak said. The listing claimed the ClO2, or chlorine dioxide, would lift bacteria and viruses up “within one meter of the wearer’s body, just like a portable air cleaner with its own protective cover.”

Prosecutors said since the product claims to kill viruses and bacteria, it is classified as a pesticide. However, the product was not registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, as is required in order to sell pesticides in the U.S. Its effectiveness has not been evaluated, according to the EPA.

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“Reliance on fraudulent products may increase the spread of COVID-19 and exacerbate the current public health emergency,” EPA Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine said.

Sun is charged with illegally selling an unregistered pesticide, illegally importing the unregistered pesticide and mailing a prohibited article.

“The sale of this product not only violates several federal laws, it also gives people a false hope,” Homeland Security Agent Robert Hammer said. “During a global crisis, like we are experiencing right now, it is incredibly dangerous and reckless to exploit people’s fear for profit.”

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