DENVER — Four people have been indicted for allegedly marketing and selling a disinfecting service that featured a product they claimed could kill coronavirus.
The statewide grand jury indicted the four, along with the Wheat Ridge-based company, Microforce, LLC, on five counts of felony theft.
The indictment alleges Microforce owners Chad Butler, 51, Michael Satchell, 55, and Jeffrey Blake Stewart, 35, along with business consultant Bryant Delaney, 65, advertised that a product used in their disinfecting service could bond to surfaces and create a layer that could kill bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus. The product could allegedly "provide long-term disinfection for up to 90 days."
According to the indictment, Microforce almost exclusively used Monofoil X, an antimicrobial that has not been approved as an effective disinfectant or as having any long-term effectiveness by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
On June 5, the indictment states that the EPA's Denver office sent an advisory letter to Microforce, informing them that the EPA only authorized their products as having long-term effectiveness for deodorizing, not disinfecting. The EPA allegedly told Microforce it was not authorized to make claims of residual efficacy.
Prosecutors claim Microforce owners and Delaney knew about the advisory letter, yet continued to misrepresent their service on the company website, promotional materials and in contacts with several Colorado businesses and organizations. The company never informed their clients about the advisory level, and no one attempted to correct the misrepresentations, according to the indictment.
Microforce's clientele included Elevations Credit Union, Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Glenmoor Country Club, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Valor Christian High School. Authorities claim the company swindled $252,440 from these clients between April 1 and Dec. 31.
“Holding fraudsters accountable is a core mission of the Attorney General’s Office,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser stated. “Those behind this scheme acted illegally even after the EPA told them they were deceiving Coloradans. That’s why we are taking action and working to hold them accountable.”
“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.”