Utah man charged with peddling fake COVID-19 cure arrested after 3 years on run

Prosecutors say he also falsely claimed to be a medical doctor.

(YouTube/U.S. Department of Justice) After avoiding arrest for three years, Gordon Hunter Pedersen has been taken into custody. The Utah man was indicted and accused of peddling a fake COVID-19 cure.

Staring into a web camera while wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope, Gordon Hunter Pedersen spent the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic peddling silver products as a fraudulent cure for the disease, prosecutors say.

Pedersen had no clinical evidence that colloidal silver cured coronavirus — and he wasn’t a medical doctor. In connection with the scheme, the Cedar Hills man was federally indicted in July 2020 with mail fraud, wire fraud and felony introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead.

But after failing to appear in court the next month, Pedersen spent three years on the run, evading capture until federal agents spotted the 63-year-old in Utah County last month, where he was ultimately taken into custody, the U.S. attorney’s office for Utah announced Monday.

He was scheduled to appear in federal court for his initial appearance Tuesday afternoon.

In online photos and videos promoting the products, the Utah man sat in front of a wall of what appeared to be framed degrees while hawking the baseless “silver solution” in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, claiming to be a “board certified anti-aging medical doctor” and to have a Ph.D. in immunology and naturopathic medicine, according to the Department of Justice.

Pedersen had been making false claims about colloidal silver products since at least 2014, charging documents state, noting that he had allegedly promoted them without clinical evidence as treatment for arthritis, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia.

The company Pedersen co-owned, My Doctor Suggests LLC, pleaded guilty in 2020 to a misdemeanor count of distributing misbranded drug products, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and severed ties with Pedersen. The company was also ordered to stop fraudulently labeling its products and issue full refunds to affected consumers, according to the DOJ.

Pedersen’s case is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration’s criminal investigation office, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Utah.

Anyone with information about allegations of fraud involving COVID-19 may report online to the DOJ’s National Center for Disaster Fraud, authorities advised.