Pennsylvania Man Sentenced Over False Claims of Canine Cancer Cure in Cruel Million-Dollar Scam

Prison© tadah from pixabay / Canva

PHILADELPHIA, PA — A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to over eight years in prison for defrauding desperate pet owners in a cruel scam. Jonathan Nyce, 73, of Collegeville, was found guilty of selling fake canine cancer drugs in a scheme that spanned several years and netted him nearly $1 million.

United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero made the announcement Friday, following a federal jury’s conviction of Nyce on charges of wire fraud and the interstate shipment of misbranded animal drugs in December 2022.

Nyce preyed on the vulnerability of pet owners whose dogs were battling cancer. He created a web of companies, including “Canine Care,” “ACGT,” and “CAGT,” through which he claimed to develop drugs intended to treat cancer in dogs. With enticing names like “Tumexal” and “Naturasone,” these supposed miracle drugs were marketed on various websites from as early as 2012.

The websites were riddled with false and fraudulent claims about the drugs’ safety and efficacy. They promised that “Tumexal is effective against a wide variety of cancers,” and that it could “almost always restore a cancer-stricken dog’s appetite, spirit, and energy!” But in reality, these drugs were nothing more than a mix of bulk ingredients sourced from various places, mixed together by Nyce himself at a facility in Collegeville.

Nyce went further by convincing dog owners via email and telephone conversations to part with hundreds or even thousands of dollars for these drugs. He dangled the carrot of clinical trials to prospective customers, but only if they paid him hefty sums of money. In total, he sold nearly $1,000,000 worth of these worthless drugs to approximately 900 victims.

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His actions were not just deceptive, but also illegal. The marketing, sale, and shipment of these drugs violated the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because they were not approved by the FDA. To add insult to injury, Nyce falsely claimed in promotional materials that his company’s research was funded in part by the FDA.

U.S. Attorney Romero described Nyce’s actions as both “criminal and cruel,” accusing him of deliberately exploiting people’s love for their ailing dogs for his own financial gain. She added that many people consider their dogs as family members, making them especially vulnerable to such schemes.

George A. Scavdis, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office, underscored the importance of the FDA’s animal drug approval process in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of products for pets. He warned that selling unapproved drugs to consumers would not be tolerated, and those who place profits above animal health and safety would face justice.

Nyce was sentenced to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $500 special assessment. The case was investigated by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigation with help from the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher E. Parisi.

Pet owners should always exercise caution when seeking treatment for their animals, particularly when looking online. It’s crucial to verify that any medications or treatments are FDA-approved and originate from a trusted and reputable source to safeguard your pet’s well-being and health.

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