U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Washington
(509) 353-2767
December 4, 2014

Man Sentenced to Prison for Using an Industrial Laser as a Hoax Medical Device

SPOKANE—Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Edward J. Brown, age 67, originally from Norwalk, California, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to six counts of Introduction of an Adulterated Medical Device into Interstate Commerce with the Intent to Defraud or Mislead. Senior United States District Court Judge Lonnie R. Suko sentenced Brown to a 24-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a one-year term of court supervision following release from Federal prison. The Court also ordered Brown to pay $19,925 in restitution and a $10,000 fine.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Brown purchased a Coherent, Inc., laser from a California retailer. The device known as the Quatro FAP laser unit was manufactured for use in industrial settings, plainly not as a medical device. If used as a medical device, the FAP laser would have, in any event, required approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Brown used the FAP laser as a hoax medical device to treat individuals in the State of Washington who were suffering from cancer and other medical conditions. Of course the FAP laser had not, nor ever has, received FDA approval. As such, the FAP laser was an adulterated medical device and introduction of an adulterated medical device into interstate commerce is prohibited by law.

According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, Brown was not a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Washington or any other state. He did not have a medical degree from any lawfully recognized or accredited college, university, or institution of higher learning. Brown claimed that his FAP laser could cure disease, including cancer and other medical conditions. Brown made multiple trips between the states of California, Colorado and New Mexico to Washington with the FAP laser device and regularly used it to “treat” vulnerable individuals diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses. He generally charged these individuals $300 per laser “treatment.” However, if he “treated” more than one family member, Brown would reduce his fee to $225 per treatment.

Michael C. Ormsby stated: “The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute aggressively individuals who profit through public health hoaxes. Prosecution of these types of cases is a priority in the Eastern District of Washington particularly where the victims, like the victims upon whom Brown preyed, are vulnerable, sickly and desperate.” Lisa Malinowski, Special Agent in Charge of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Los Angeles Field Office added: “Putting cancer patients and their treatment at risk is never acceptable.”

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Food and Drug Administration. The case was prosecuted over the span of several years by Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington George J.C. Jacobs, III, Alison Gregoire, and K. Jill Bolton.

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