SALT LAKE CITY — A company based in Cedar Hills, Utah that claims to be able to treat COVID-19 by putting silver into your bloodstream has been temporarily shut down by the federal government.
The U.S. Attorney's Office succeeded in obtaining a temporary restraining order to stop Gordon Pedersen from fraudulently promoting products containing silver as a preventative measure and treatment for the virus.
A complaint filed in the United States District Court, District of Utah, lists Pedersen, and two companies - called My Doctor Suggests, LLC and GP Silver LLC - as defendants.
John Huber, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, said Pedersen is likely not the only person running a COVID-19 scam in the state, but so far it is the only one that has gotten big enough to warrant the federal government stepping in and shutting down the businesses.
"You have a modern-day snake oil salesman from the Wild West who rolls into town and says, 'This is the cure all that's going to stop all your ails and viruses and things that are going to get you,'" Huber said. "We think that claim is outlandish."
Pedersen and his two companies have promoted silver products as a treatment for various diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia and, most recently, COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Pedersen and his companies promoted silver products for COVID-19 prevention and treatment via YouTube, podcasts and websites.
FOX 13 obtained a video of Pedersen in which he argues his products -- including soaps, gels and lozenges -- are better than hand sanitizer encouraged by the "news media."
"Silver destroys bacteria and all forms of viruses and yeast, it does all three all at the same time," Pedersen said in the video. "I've got protection in my mouth, nostrils, lips."
In one of the YouTube videos, Pedersen said having silver in his bloodstream would "usher" any coronavirus out of his body.
"You can actually even drink two tablespoons twice a day, like I do," Pedersen said in the video. "I want that liquid silver in my bloodstream circulating around."
"Defendant Gordon Pedersen falsely claims that My Doctor Suggests silver products can destroy coronavirus, and remove it from the body, assuring the user will never get COVID-19," the complaint says, but there is no known drug product that has been proven to safely prevent, treat or cure the disease.
"They should be suspect unless that’s approved by the FDA," Huber said. "We don't believe he is (a doctor)... I think he's Mr. Pedersen."
According to the complaint, Pedersen's website showed him wearing a white coat and stethoscope to give visitors the impression that he is a physician, but Pedersen does not have a medical degree and is not licensed as a medical provider in the State of Utah.
Pedersen calls himself a doctor in numerous postings online. He also refers to himself as "Dr. Gordon Pedersen" on his voicemail.
In at least some of his online posts, Pedersen refers to himself as a Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy).
Pedersen's websites are now offline and his YouTube page no longer lists any videos. His assets have been frozen by the federal government.
The two companies are accused of committing mail fraud and wire fraud, and the US Attorney's Office's complaint seeks to restrain "all future fraudulent conduct and any other action that this Court deems just in order to prevent a continuing and substantial injury to the victims of fraud."
Huber said Pedersen is not yet facing any criminal charges, but they could be pending.
Pedersen's companies will be shut down until at least May 12, when the case is scheduled to be back in federal court.