LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- A 53-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for falsely claiming to have developed a coronavirus prevention pill and an injectable cure for those infected, officials said.
Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, associated with several Southern California addresses, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of attempted wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said.
Middlebrook, whose IMDb credits include tiny, uncredited parts in Iron Man 3, Thor and Moneyball, allegedly claimed to have personally developed a “patent-pending cure” for coronavirus, the Hollywood Reporter reports.
Health officials have said there is not yet an antiviral treatment or vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Middlebrook allegedly claimed to an undercover agent that a $300,000 investment would bring in $30 million, a promise that was allegedly secured by a “current $10 billion offer from an unnamed buyer in Dubai,” according to the affidavit.
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A witness told investigators that Middlebrook sent a text saying, “I have Developed the Cure for the CoronaVirus COVID-19... *LA Patient tested Positive for CoronaVirus got up and walked out 51 hours after my Injection.” The text went on to say, “Investors who come in at ground level say $1M will parachute with $200M – $300M...Conservative Minimum.”
In an Instagram video that garnered over a million views in three days, Middlebrook showed a pill which he said prevented him from contracting COVID-19, officials said. According to the criminal complaint he “states that if he took the pill and walked into the Staples Center filled with COVID-19 positive individuals, he could not contract the virus.”