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Monday, February 26, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Snake-Oil Hucksters Hit Up for Millions in Fines

WASHINGTON (CN) - A couple who peddled bogus cancer cures they said "the Lord has provided" owe millions in fines and restitution, a federal judge ruled.

The March 31 final order by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan comes nearly five years since the Justice Department brought its complaint against James Feijo, of Portsmouth, R.I., and his company, Daniel Chapter One, over snake oil for cancer that Feijo and his wife, Patricia, pushed on the radio and Internet.

Federal Trade Commission proceedings over the products meanwhile began in 2008, culminating with a final order the next year to cease and desist certain practices.

Though the 2010 complaint did not name Patricia as a defendant, the parties did not dispute that she was an agent of the company.

A federal judge ultimately granted the government an injunction and summary judgment after crediting its claims that the Feijos hawked their products in violation of the FTC order.

In addition to a call-in radio program that airs nationally on the Accent Radio Network, the Feijos posted on the Daniel Chapter One Fellowship's online bulletin board.

Uncle Sam said the Feijos tried to skirt the cease-and-desist order by encouraging listeners of its radio program to call in and answer earlier callers' questions about which Daniel Chapter One products prevent, treat or cure medical conditions.

The complaint describes how James Feijo fielded one call from a woman named Marcia, who said her mother had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

James Feijo told this woman, according to the complaint: "well, let me tell you right off the bat, chemo's a lie, radiation's a lie. They've never cured anybody of pancreatic cancer with their chemo and radiation."

Patricia Feijo then told Marcia about a Dr. Kelly who "healed himself naturally."

"And he begins his book with it was a blessing in disguise that [he] didn't have health insurance and couldn't go for chemo or radiation," Feijo said. "But I just wanted to explain to you, Marcia, that we're under a cease and desist order. So, Jim and Tricia, at Daniel Chapter One and the other people here ... can't tell you what Dr. Kelly did or what we have done over the years. ... But hopefully someone will call in and - because they've heard you now and will call in and help you out with the kinds of things naturally that your mom can do. And the other thing is you can join our fellowship and get - or your mom can directly and get fellowship that way, get ministry, rather. ... Some health ministry." (Emphasis added in complaint.)

The government said James Feijo then gave Marcia detailed instructions for signing up for the online bulletin board, and encouraged other listeners to call in advice.

Another section of the complaint described a post that a "Global Moderator" named David left on the Feijos' online bulletin board in response to a request for a drug to fight melanoma. "We believe the Lord has provided the following products to help in healing," David wrote, before listed the Feijos' dietary supplements.

The complaint identified various "supplements" that the Feijos hawked, including BioShark, 7 Herb Formula, GDU and BioMixx. BioShark capsules, which as their name suggests consist mostly of shark cartilage, sold $31.

"Global Moderator David" posted on Daniel Chapter One's bulletin board that two to four capsules three times a day will fight tumors, according to the complaint.

The government also described the 7 Herb Formula as a liquid tea concentrate containing rhubarb root, sheep sorrel, Siberian ginseng and cat's claw. It said the GDU capsules contain bromelain, turmeric, quercetin, feverfew and boron.Judge Sullivan's Tuesday order includes equitable monetary relief in the amount of $1.3 million and a civil penalty award of $3.5 million.

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