The Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against Applied BioSciences and Turbo Global Partners as well as Turbo Global’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Singerman, over misleading claims related to COVID-19.
The complaint against Turbo and Singerman, filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida, alleges they made false and misleading claims related to equipment used to detect fevers.
The complaint against Applied BioSciences, filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, alleged the company was offering finger-prick COVID-19 tests for home-use by the general public when the tests could be administered only in consultation with a medical professional.
The SEC said Applied BioSciences had not shipped any COVID-19 tests as of March 31 and did not disclose, in a press release touting the business, that its tests had not been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We are actively monitoring the markets to detect potential fraudsters who seek to use the COVID-19 crisis as a basis for investment scams,” Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, said in a statement. “As alleged in these complaints, Applied BioSciences and Turbo Global sought to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis by misleading investors about their ability to provide solutions.”
The SEC, in the charges it filed, said Applied BioSciences shifted its focus from cannabinoid-based products to pandemic products in March to “exploit the COVID-19 pandemic for profit.”
The charges against Turbo Global, a digital marketing company, concern its entry into an agreement with BeMotion to provide “non-contact human temperature screening and facial recognition … and [the] ability to ship the technology to customers within five days of receiving an order.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission questioned the “accuracy and adequacy” of the information provided by the company.
Turbo Global’s Singerman was charged with fraud by the SEC in 1999 over fraudulent securities sales and a permanent injunction was filed against him.
The investigation into Applied BioSciences is being conducted and supervised from the New York regional Office. The investigation into Turbo Global and Singerman is being conducted and supervised from the Atlanta regional Office.
Regulators suspended trading into both companies.