Advertisement

N.J. man sentenced for selling unregistered pesticide as COVID-19 disinfectant

A New Jersey man was sentenced to five years in jail on Thursday for selling unregistered pesticide as COVID-19 disinfectant. Pool File Photo by Win McNamee/UPI
A New Jersey man was sentenced to five years in jail on Thursday for selling unregistered pesticide as COVID-19 disinfectant. Pool File Photo by Win McNamee/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A New Jersey man has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for selling millions of dollars' worth of unregistered pesticide products that he falsely claimed was a disinfectant against COVID-19.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler handed down the sentence Thursday to Paul Andrecola, 63, in a Camden, N.J., courtroom, the Justice Department said in a release.

Advertisement

Andrecola is also sentenced to three years of supervised release and to forfeit the $2.74 million in profit he made between March 2020 and May 2021 selling his illegal products.

Authorities accused Kugler of perpetrating the largest pandemic fraud case related to the sale of unregistered pesticide.

RELATED Florida lawmaker behind 'Don't Say Gay' law resigns following fraud charges

"The defendant committed a brazen fraud in the midst of a global pandemic and sought to profit from people's fears of contracting the coronavirus," Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division said.

"This sentence shows that these crimes are serious and will be vigorously prosecuted by the Department of Justice."

Andrecola was sentenced after pleading guilty in June to one count each of wire fraud, presenting false claims to the United States and knowingly distributing or selling an unregistered pesticide in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Advertisement

Prosecutors said Andrecola ran three companies in Mount Laurel, N.J., from where he manufactured disinfectant products, including liquids and wipes, under the GCLEAN brand name, which were unregistered FIFRA pesticides that were not on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of disinfectants for use against COVID-19.

According to court documents, Andrecola used another company's EPA-registered number on his products, which he marketed as EPA-approved to kill the coronavirus.

Falsified documentation fraudulently stating various GCLEAN sanitizers and wipe products were EPA-registered were handed out to potential customers in order to convince them to buy the unregistered pesticide, prosecutors said.

RELATED Two white supremacist gang members sentenced

The Justice Department said that Andrecola is responsible to make full restitution for all losses resulting from his commission of the charged crimes.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement