Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

August 02, 2005 14:32 ET

Criminal Charges Laid in Cancer Treatment Scam Following Competition Bureau Investigation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 2, 2005) - The Competition Bureau announced today that criminal charges have been laid against Michael Reynolds of Toronto, Ont., and John Armstrong of Penticton, B.C., for making false or misleading claims regarding the efficacy of their alleged cancer treatment. The principals of the now defunct CSCT Inc., operating out of Kitchener, Ont., and Penticton, B.C., claimed that their treatment, known as Cell Specific Cancer Therapy or Zoetron Therapy, could selectively kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

The Bureau alleges that the accused preyed upon vulnerable consumers, specifically cancer victims and/or their families, by making unsubstantiated representations on their Web site, at seminars, and in alternative health care magazine articles and advertisements, direct mailings and telephone communications. Mssrs. Reynolds and Armstrong operated their out-patient cancer clinics in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Tijuana, Mexico; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Mijas Costa, Spain, at various times from August 1996 to February 2003.

The accused claim to have treated over 850 people worldwide, while charging as much as $15,000 to $20,000 (U.S.) for the alleged treatment. This did not include substantial additional expenses incurred by victims and their families, including international travel and accommodation.

Reynolds and Armstrong have been charged with 10 counts each under the Competition Act for knowingly or recklessly making representations to the public that were false or misleading in a material respect and one count each under the Criminal Code of Canada for defrauding the public of money exceeding $5,000.

"The monetary loss, while significant, is overshadowed by the false hope created by the accused that those in need of serious medical treatment would receive help," said Raymond Pierce, Deputy Commissioner. "The Bureau will continue to pursue those who engage in deceptive practices by preying upon the most vulnerable consumers."

This investigation was conducted with the assistance of the Toronto Strategic Partnership, a law enforcement partnership established to combat cross-border telemarketing fraud. Its membership consists of the Toronto Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, York Regional Police Service, RCMP, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.K. Office of Fair Trading. Assistance was also received from law enforcement officials in Switzerland, Belgium and Spain.

In February 2003, the Competition Bureau, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Mexican Health Authorities undertook coordinated, albeit independent, enforcement actions against CSCT and the accused. The Bureau executed search warrants in Ontario and British Columbia; the FTC filed a Temporary Restraining Order with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, suspending CSCT's domain name, thereby ending the misrepresentations; and the Federal Commission of Health in Mexico closed the one remaining clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. These enforcement actions effectively shut down the operation.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that promotes and maintains fair competition so that all Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality service. It oversees the application of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

Contact Information

  • For media enquiries :
    Competition Bureau
    Maureen McGrath
    Communications Advisor
    (819) 953-8982, or (613) 296-2187 (cell)
    or
    For general enquiries :
    Competition Bureau
    Information Centre
    (819) 997-4282
    1-800-348-5358