California man charged with coronavirus-linked fraud

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Southern California man was arrested on Wednesday on a federal fraud charge alleging he solicited investments in a company that would market a pill that would prevent the coronavirus, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

A criminal complaint against Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, 53, alleges that he "claimed to have personally developed a 'patent-pending cure' and a treatment that prevents coronavirus infection," the statement said.

"Middlebrook was arrested during a meeting in which he delivered pills – purportedly the treatment that prevents coronavirus infection – to an undercover agent who was posing as an investor," it said.

(Reporting by Eric Beech)