BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland man sold unregistered and misbranded pesticides falsely advertised as a government-approved disinfectant for the coronavirus, investigators said.
Marek Majtan, 35, of Frederick, was charged Tuesday in a criminal complaint that accuses him of repackaging pesticides with his own handmade labels and marketing it on the internet as a product that “Kills 99.9% Bacterias & Viruses” and “Kills Covid 19 & Seasonal Flu.”
Majtan, who was not authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to manufacture or distribute any pesticides, used a false EPA registration number on his products, according to a special agent with the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.
“He failed to provide application directions concerning how long his products must remain in contact with a surface to be effective, thus reducing, if not eliminating, any chance for his products to be effective,” the agent wrote in an affidavit. “This gave customers a false sense of security that his products were providing protection from the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The federal complaint charges Majtan with mail fraud and violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in Maryland on Sept. 11.
“It is particularly egregious to seize on the ongoing pandemic to take advantage of the public,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement Thursday.
Online court records don’t name an attorney for Majtan.
Investigators searched Majtan’s home on June 1 and seized 17 gallons (64 liters) of a pesticide in the product’s proper packaging, according to the agent’s affidavit. Majtan told agents that he purchased about 40 gallons (151 liters) of pesticide online on Facebook Marketplace from a person whose last name he didn’t know, the affidavit says.
The agent said Majtan sold products to approximately 95 customers.