Men charged in COVID-19 disinfectant dupe case plead guilty, ordered to pay restitution
Nov. 30, 2022 (DENVER) – Three individuals pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft and one misdemeanor charge of illegally distributing a pesticide for deceptively marketing and selling a deodorizer they knew could not kill the Coronavirus and prevent surface recontamination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The defendants—Chadwick Butler, Bryant Delaney, and Michael Satchell—each received a deferred judgment and sentence on the felony theft charge and will be supervised by Jefferson County District Court probation. If the defendants successfully complete their probation, the theft charges can be dismissed, but the misdemeanor charge will remain on their criminal records.
Their now-defunct business, Microforce, was criminally charged in the scheme and pleaded guilty to felony theft. A Jefferson County District Court judge ordered the defendants to pay $252,440 in restitution to the clients they defrauded. This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigations Division and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
“Misrepresenting a product and its effectiveness against COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic is not only unconscionable, but also criminal conduct. I’m thankful for the partnership between the EPA and my department’s Special Prosecutions Unit for holding the defendants accountable and getting restitution for the victims they harmed,” Attorney General Phil Weiser said.
“False and misleading disinfectant claims concerning the Coronavirus and COVID-19 place people and communities at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Lance Ehrig of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Colorado. “As this case demonstrates, the EPA and its Colorado law enforcement partners are committed to the protection of public health.”
According to a December 2021 state grand jury indictment, the defendants falsely claimed their product killed a variety of viruses, including COVID-19. The U.S. EPA’s Denver office sent an advisory letter to the defendants on June 5, 2020, after an agency official learned the company was misrepresenting its product and what it could do. The letter advised the company that the EPA only authorized their products as having long-term effectiveness for deodorizing and not disinfecting, and the company was not authorized to make claims of residual efficacy for disinfecting against bacteria or viruses.
The EPA has never approved the agent Microforce used in its product, Monofoil X, as an effective disinfectant against any public health bacteria or viruses or having any long-term effectiveness against them. There are no products currently recognized by the EPA that may claim residual efficacy against viruses for 30-90 days.
All the company owners knew about the EPA advisory letter, yet they continued to misrepresent their service on the Microforce website, in promotional materials, and in contacts with Colorado businesses and organizations. Microforce never informed their clients about the existence of the advisory letter and no one at the company corrected the misrepresentations made to clients about the product. Those clients include Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Valor Christian High School, Elevations Credit Union, and Glenmoor Country Club.
The case numbers for each are: Chad Butler, 2021CR3334; Michael Satchell, 2021CR3332; Bryant Delaney, 2021CR3331; and Microforce, 2021CR3335.
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