NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Queens mother and son are facing fraud charges after selling a toxic product online that they claimed could cure cancer.
Investigators say drums of hazardous materials were found inside the woman’s Bellerose Manor home in Queens.
Their phony miracle formula is allegedly a toxic apricot seed concoction.
Authorities say the two claimed on a website to be selling “the answer to cancer.” The government says that’s a lie.
Police raided the home of Jason Vale and his mother Barbara Vale Wednesday morning. Hazmat crews were on the scene removing drums of the toxic and caustic materials that were being stored in the home.
The duo were set to appear in federal court late Wednesday afternoon, but the son was taken to an area hospital after he was arrested and was unable to appear before the judge.
The 77-year-old Barbara Vale did go before the judge and was released on a $100,000 bond. Her 51-year-old son was later contacted by authorities at his hospital bed and also given a $100,000 bond.
Jason Vale later limped out of his vehicle and into his home on 235th Street Wednesday night after posting the $100,000 bail.
The former arm wrestling world champion and his mother are accused of selling apricot seeds as a cure for cancer through a web site Apricotsfromgod.info. Vale claims the website is not his.
“There are people that sent in testimonials,” Vale told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. “I know for myself it helped me, it made my tumor shrink. But I would never use the word ‘cure.’ I know that, that’s absurd.”
Vale previously served five years in prison for marketing the products and was released in 2008.
Federal officials raided the home Wednesday. Now a federal complaint says from 2013 to September 2019 the family made more than $850,000 in sales through a Paypal account and sold a package including three pounds of the seeds for $259 plus nearly $30 in shipping.
His mother wouldn’t speak after court, but her other son said the feds have it all wrong.
“So much stuff going on in the world – smoking, you have people dying from vaping. You have an individual who beat cancer when he was 18 years old that nobody else beat, that did five years in jail for that, for selling something he believed in,” Jared Vale said.
“Anybody who’s saying that my mother was peddling something – that’s not true,” Jason claimed.
Jason, who says he endured three bouts with cancer, says the seeds help him.
“I still eat them every day, every single day. I eat five-10 seeds every day. And the theory says that when you eat two to three seeds a day, you cannot come down with cancer.”
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez says people should be skeptical of anything touted as a miracle drug.
“Nobody has this one little secret that they’re selling on a website. If it were real, it would be everywhere.”
The complaint also says there are no clinical studies supporting the fact that the seeds are safe or effective. The FDA told CBS2 it could not comment on the arrest, but said this is not an approved product and there’s actually an import alert on it.