April 14, 2024

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Biotech Exec Charged With COVID Test Fraud

In the most recent authorized fallout from an alleged fraud associated to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Fee has accused the president of biotech company Arrayit of making phony promises to traders.

According to the SEC, Mark Schena said that Arrayit had designed a COVID-take a look at and that it was awaiting crisis approval when, in fact, the corporation had not however procured all the essential elements for this kind of a take a look at and had not applied to the Foods and Drug Administration for an crisis use authorization.

The SEC’s civil criticism versus Schena came three months following the Section of Justice introduced prison fees versus him in what was its initially securities fraud prosecution associated to the pandemic.

“We allege that Mark Schena took gain of the COVID-19 pandemic at the expenditure of traders,” Erin E. Schneider, director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Business office, mentioned in a news release. “A pandemic does not exempt public corporation executives from their duty to make precise disclosures.”

Schena, 57, has served as Arrayit’s president and main science officer since 2008 and is married to its CEO, Rene Schena. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-centered corporation has claimed to be acquiring a revolutionary “microarray” take a look at for allergic reactions employing a drop of blood.

In March 2020, Schena told traders in e-mail that “we have a take a look at for COVID-19,” that Arrayit had “received additional than 50,000 requests” for its take a look at and that “Our crew is coordinating with local, point out and federal agencies and with our distributors to make this take a look at offered to as quite a few sufferers as attainable on an expedited timeline.”

“The change from screening for allergic reactions to screening for COVID-19 was ‘like a pastry chef’ who switches from offering ‘strawberry pies’ to offering ‘rhubarb and strawberry pies,’” he allegedly told investigators.

The SEC also alleged that in between October 2018 and March 2019, Schena misled traders by saying that Arrayit was planning to develop into present on delinquent fiscal stories for the initially time since November 2015.

Arrayit, biotech, COVID-19, Mark Schena, U.S. Securities and Exchange Fee