News and Press Releases

Couple Used Devices Without Medical Training Claiming Cancer Treatment

August 22, 2008

DONALD BRANDT, 79, and SHARON BRANDT, 65, of Mount Vernon, Washington, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle for Causing the Introduction of an Adulterated Medical Device into Interstate Commerce. DONALD BRANDT was sentenced to 30 days in prison, and 4 months of home detention. SHARON BRANDT was sentenced to 5 months of home detention. DONALD BRANDT and SHARON BRANDT were ordered to pay collectively a fine of $10,000.

At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones acknowledged that many people believed that the Brandts’ treatments helped them. However, he noted that there were a host of victims, suffering from terminal cancer and other serious diseases who were “grossly and unfairly taken advantage of.” Noting that DONALD BRANDT led some people to believe he was a medical doctor, Judge Jones said, “You were a charlatan and fraud, preying on vulnerable victims.” Judge Jones concluded that SHARON BRANDT was an equal partner with her husband.

According to records filed in the case, between at least 2002 and 2005, the BRANDTs operated a clinic on Blodgett Road in Mt. Vernon, Washington. The clinic claimed to provide medical treatments and sold nutritional supplements. DONALD BRANDT treated patients, even though he had no medical license or degree. He was assisted by SHARON BRANDT in the clinic’s operations. One of the machines used in their clinic was the Vibe Machine, which was not approved by the FDA and thus was adulterated under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The couple promoted use of the Vibe Machine and other unapproved or misbranded devices at their clinic as effective in the treatment for a variety of illnesses including hepatitis and cancer.

The Government told the court, “The Brandts took advantage of many very sick people who desperately sought some hope as they were dying, taking thousands of dollars from them in their last days.”

The BRANDTs pleaded guilty on May 23, 2008.

The case was investigated by the Food Drug Administration and the Washington State Department of Health.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Loitz and Jim Lord.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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