The COVID-19 pandemic has left countless people worldwide vulnerable and afraid. The Office of the Attorney General has urged Michiganders to stay vigilant and aware of possible scams looking to exploit people during the pandemic. Federal stimulus checks have been stolen by thieves in phone scams on unsuspecting people for example. A Shelby Township medical and spa facility has now been the first federally charged in Metro Detroit for selling fake COVID-19 treatments and preventative measures to exploit the pandemic for monetary gain.
The main doctor at Allure Medical Spa in Shelby Township is accused of health care fraud for offering vitamin C infusions as COVID-19 treatments. This doctor has touted many of his treatments on YouTube and during appearances on local TV shows. Federal prosecutors allege that he was using the pandemic to fraudulently administer unapproved treatments and fraudulently bill those treatments to Medicare, labeling them as varicose vein treatments. A cooperating witness has allegedly turned over records to investigators that the doctor had submitted at least 98 claims to insurance companies related to these fraudulent treatments. The doctor proclaimed that the vitamin C treatments reduced the length and severity of COVID-19 symptoms, while also allegedly recognizing that vitamin C treatments are not approved by any medical agency, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He is also accused in the complaint of seeking to steal competitors’ clients due to his defiance of the state order against non-essential businesses. While his competitors closed in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s order, Allure treated 950 patients in the three weeks after the order took effect on March 24. Proper protocols related to cleanliness and hygiene were also a major problem at Allure as five clinic employees continued to work despite testing positive for COVID-19. These employees directly treated patients even though the majority of the clinic’s patients are over 50 years old with underlying health conditions.