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La Mesa company owners pleads guilty to selling fake COVID-19 cleaner

A COVID-19 testing site at San Diego State University. Jan. 15, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
A COVID-19 testing site at San Diego State University. Jan. 15, 2021.

A La Mesa-based sanitation company and its owners pleaded guilty today to federal charges for selling a product with false claims that it could eradicate viruses, including the one that causes COVID-19.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Integral Hygienic Solutions, Inc. — doing business as TruClean — claimed its TruClean 365 product could eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as other viruses and bacteria for one year when applied on surfaces.

Prosecutors say that when the pandemic began in early 2020, the defendants bought bottles of chemical products from a different company, then placed TruClean's labels onto the bottles. The company claimed in its marketing that TruClean 365 had undergone "rigorous testing" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which validated that TruClean 365 provided year-round protection against virus infections.

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In their plea, the defendants admitted to selling over $800,000 worth of the products, which by law should have been registered as pesticides by the EPA, but weren't.

U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman said "The defendants tried to gain commercial advantage during the pandemic by falsely claiming that the federal government had tested and validated their product."