PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Jonathan Nyce, 73, of Collegeville, PA, was convicted by a federal jury of wire fraud and the interstate shipment of misbranded animal drugs. The charges arise from a years-long scheme to defraud pet owners of money by falsely claiming to sell canine cancer-curing drugs.
In February 2020, the defendant was charged by Indictment for this scheme, which he operated by creating several companies, including “Canine Care,” “ACGT,” and “CAGT,” through which he purported to develop drugs intended to treat cancer in dogs. Using various websites for these companies beginning in 2012, the defendant marketed these “cancer-curing” medications to desperate pet owners, using the drug names “Tumexal” and “Naturasone.” The websites made numerous false and fraudulent claims regarding the safety and efficacy of these supposed drugs, including that “Tumexal is effective against a wide variety of cancers,” and, “[i]n fact, Tumexal will almost always restore a cancer-stricken dog’s appetite, spirit and energy!” As alleged, these drugs were nothing more than a collection of bulk ingredients from various sources, which the defendant blended together himself at a facility on Arcola Road in Collegeville.
Further, through email and telephone conversations, Nyce induced the owners of terminally ill dogs to pay him hundreds or thousands of dollars for these drugs by touting the effectiveness of his products in treating a host of canine cancers. He also told prospective customers that their pets could become part of clinical trials, but in order to do so, they had to pay him large sums of money. Evidence presented at trial showed the defendant sold nearly $1,000,000 worth of drugs to approximately 900 different victims. The defendant’s marketing, sale, and shipment of these drugs violated the Food and Drug Administration’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because the drugs were not approved by the FDA. The defendant even falsely claimed in promotional materials that his company’s research was “funded in part by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
“When beloved pets become sick, caring owners look for treatments that can offer hope to keep their pet alive and comfortable,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Jonathan Nyce took advantage of that bond between pet and owner by defrauding customers and giving them false hope that they might be able to save their dying pet. That is both cruel and illegal, and we hope this verdict brings his victims a small measure of justice for their suffering.”
“The FDA’s animal drug approval process ensures that our pets receive safe and effective products. Ignoring the FDA’s requirements and selling unapproved drugs to vulnerable U.S. consumers will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge George A. Scavdis, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “We will aggressively pursue and bring to justice those criminals who place profits above the health and safety of animal patients.”
The case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher E. Parisi.