A Utah resident and three-year fugitive was arrested in Utah County on federal charges after fleeing from federal law enforcement in 2020.
According to court documents, Gordon Hunter Pedersen, 63, of Cedar Hills, Utah, was spotted during surveillance by federal agents on July 5, 2023. Pedersen had a warrant issued for his arrest on August 25, 2020, after failing to appear on an indictment in federal court. The indictment charges Pedersen with mail fraud, wire fraud and felony introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead.
Court documents also provide that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, before approved vaccines were available, Pedersen sold via the internet a “structural alkaline silver” product which he claimed “resonates, or vibrates, at a frequency that destroys the membrane of the virus, making the virus incapable of attaching to any healthy cell, or to infect you in anyway.” In Pedersen’s alleged attempt to further defraud, he falsely claimed on YouTube videos to be a board certified “Anti-Aging Medical Doctor.” He is further alleged to have falsely claimed to have a PhD in immunology and a PhD in Naturopathic Medicine.
A pending civil case is being handled by the Department of Justice, Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah.
Pedersen is scheduled to make his initial appearance on the criminal indictment and to appear at a detention hearing Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins of the District of Utah made the announcement. The case is being investigated jointly by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigation (FDA-OCI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Salt Lake City Field Office.
The criminal action is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jacob J. Strain and Brian Williams from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Speare Hodges and Sarah Williams from the Department of Justice, Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch. James Smith from FDA’s Office of Chief Council is also assisting.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.