Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

New York City Mother-Son Duo Arrested for Selling Online Phony Cancer Cure

What to Know

  • Mom-son duo was arrested Wednesday for allegedly selling on apricot elixir over the internet that they touted as cancer cure, source says
  • Jason Vale and his mother Barbara Vale were arrested by FDA and Postal Service authorities at their home in Queens, the source says
  • The New York City Department of Environmental Protection were on scene due to liquid filled barrels found at the house

A mother-son duo was arrested Wednesday morning on fraud charges for allegedly selling on apricot elixir over the internet that they touted as a cure for cancer, a law enforcement source tells News 4.

Jason Vale, an arm-wrestling champion, and his mother 77-year-old Barbara Vale were arrested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Postal Service authorities at their home in Queens, the source says. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection was on scene due to liquid filled barrels found at the house.

Barbara appeared in court Wednesday afternoon where she was released on $100,000 bond. However, Jason was taken to the hospital after his arrest for an undisclosed medical issue, according to the source, and did not appear in court. He was contacted by the judge via telephone, where he was told the conditions of his $100,000 bond as well.

News 4 could not immediately reach defense attorney Ben Yaster for comment. 

According to a criminal complaint, since at least January 2013, the mother-son duo "have been operating an online business through a website called "Apricotsfromgod.info" (the "WEBSITE"), from which consumers may purchase various products including Enjoined Substances."

Furthermore, the complaint goes on to say: "that there is an active market for products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), but that sellers nonetheless market as being able to treat and cure diseases, including cancer. One of these products is amygdalin. Amygdalin is a glucoside found in the kernel or seeds of most fruits and is frequently referred to as "Laetrile" or "Vitamin B-17." While some people believe that Laetrile can treat and control cancer, the FDA does not support this claim."

According to the complaint, Jason did the same thing previously and in 2002 he was charged with intent to deceive the FDA and distribute laetrile, among other charges. He was subsequently convicted in 2003 and served five years in prison, according to prosecutors. 

In 2008, the New York Times profiled Jason who was reported as surviving bouts of cancer and having credited the power of apricot seeds for his health. 

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