Ohio Company and its VP plead guilty to selling unregistered virucide, despite repeated warnings | Takeover bid

An Ohio company and its vice president pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally selling antimicrobial products. Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Lynn of the Investigations Division Criminal Investigation Department of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-CID) made the announcement.

Evan Morgan and DEM Technology LLC of Dayton, Ohio pleaded guilty to selling an unregistered “fogger,” which they claim, without evidence, could disinfect an entire room. According to the plea, beginning in 1996, DEM manufactured the surface disinfection product, SaniGuard. It was only authorized as a surface spray. However, since SaniGuard’s initial registration with the EPA, DEM has sold the product not only as a “dry disinfectant surface sprayer”, but also as a “full release fogger”. According to its marketing materials, the misting product released the entire contents of the box into a room, supposedly disinfecting all surfaces in the room. He also claimed the fogger could “sanitize a room in 10-15 minutes”; is “effective against H1N1, E-Coli, Staphylococcus, MRSA and Salmonella”; and has a “99.99% kill rate of fungi, bacteria…and viruses.” DEM has never established any efficacy or safety data associated with the use of SaniGuard as a fogger, as required by federal insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide law.

From 2004 to 2015, DEM received and acknowledged repeated correspondence from the EPA, ordering the removal of fogging language from the SaniGuard label. Additionally, on July 21, 2015, the EPA issued a Consent Order, which ordered DEM to pay a civil penalty based on DEM’s sale of the fogging product. Nevertheless, DEM continued to produce and sell Total Release Fogger in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

“Defendants in this case made claims about the efficacy of their product without supporting data, putting their clients at risk,” Assistant Attorney General Kim said. “Despite this danger and repeated notices from the EPA, the defendants continued their unlawful conduct for years. Yesterday’s guilty pleas show that the Justice Department will not tolerate such violations of federal law.

“In order to protect the environment, it is essential that the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide programs receive accurate and honest information from pesticide holders and their employees,” said Special Agent in Charge Lynn. “This guilty plea sends a clear message that the EPA and its law enforcement partners will continue to hold individuals and companies fully accountable for illegal behavior that endangers the environment.”

This case was investigated by EPA-CID Special Agent Christopher Wilson and Jon Scale of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office of Criminal Investigations. He is being prosecuted by District Attorney Adam Cullman of the ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.

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