FDA Announces Lengthy Prison Term for Vendor of Fraudulent Cancer Cure

June 23, 2004

2 Min Read
FDA Announces Lengthy Prison Term for Vendor of Fraudulent Cancer Cure

NEW YORK.--The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the conclusion of an investigation against a New York-based businessman who had wronged cancer patients by heavily promoting and pushing sales of Laetrile, an extremely toxic compound with unsubstantiated efficacy as a cancer treatment. The probe was conducted jointly by the Office of Criminal Investigations and the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) for the Eastern District of New York and the New York Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

Jason Vale, president of Christian Brothers Contracting Corp. in New York, was sentenced on June 18, 2004 to 63 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release by a United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York.

"There is no scientific evidence that Laetrile offers anything but false hope to cancer patients, some of whom have used it instead of conventional treatment until it was too late for that treatment to be effective," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner. "This sentence sends a strong message that we will not tolerate marketing of bogus medicines."

Following the investigation, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York placed Vales illegal sales and promotion of Laetrile--also known as amygdalin, "Vitamin B-17", or apricot pits--under injunction in April 2000. In defiance of the court order, Vale established a shell corporation in Arizona, and continued to ship the product from the basement of his own home to customers sent to him by his New York firm. For these actions, Vale, who had made at least $500,000 from his illegal sales of Laetrile, was found guilty 11 months ago of three counts of criminal contempt, and ordered to be held without bail for the duration of his sentencing.

Last week, the court also found Vale guilty of committing fraud in his marketing of Laetrile. In addition, the court declared Vale defrauded the U.S. government by claiming he qualified for Legal Aid and ordered Vale to repay $31,000 for the costs of his appointed defense attorney.

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