Federal Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order against New Braunfels Business for Promoting and Conducting Fraudulent Coronavirus Testing
In San Antonio today, Senior U.S. District Court Judge David A. Ezra granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) filed by federal authorities against Living Health Holistic Healing Center d/b/a Living Health New Braunfels (Living Health) and it’s owner, Leslie Tatum, to combat alleged fraudulent advertising and testing related to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Field Office.
The purpose of the civil injunction is to stop Tatum, through her business, from advertising, offering and performing COVID-19 testing. According to a civil complaint filed in this case, Living Health and Tatum have misled the public into believing they are qualified to both administer COVID-19 diagnostic and serological tests and interpret the results of such tests. The defendants operate a website with the domain name “livinghealthnb.com”, a Facebook page, and use direct emails to induce customers into purchasing COVID-19 antibody testing for $85. The complaint further states that the test used by Tatum is not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine whether individuals have an active COVID-19 infection or whether they should take steps to quarantine or isolate themselves from others. Moreover, according to the complaint, Tatum, a licensed massage therapist, is not qualified to perform nor evaluate the test results.
Today’s action will prevent Tatum from advertising COVID-19 testing through her business’s website and Facebook page immediately while this investigation continues. It will also prevent her from performing COVID-19 diagnostic or serological tests, or providing services related to the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation, or management of symptoms of COVID-19. By filing this action, the government is employing a federal statute that permits federal courts to issue injunctions to prevent harm to potential victims of fraudulent schemes. A hearing on the TRO is scheduled for 9:00am on August 25, 2020, before Judge Ezra.
Individuals who were tested for COVID-19 at this facility are asked to contact the FBI by calling (210) 225-6741, prompt #1, or online at www.tips.fbi.gov. Those individuals are also encouraged to contact their primary care physician, local health department, free standing ER, or nearby urgent care facility for re-testing.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, consumers may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO websites. In addition, the public is urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or by e-mailing the NCDF at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, visit its website at www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx. For information about the Department of Justice’s efforts to stop COVID-19 fraud, visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
This enforcement action is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin M. Van De Walle, Justin Chung and Michael C. Galdo of the Western District of Texas. Special Agents with the FBI’s San Antonio Field Office are conducting the investigation.
The claims made in the complaint are allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trial, the government must prove to receive a permanent injunction against the defendant.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.