EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A federal injunction was served on a Fort Davis, Texas man accused of selling fraudulent coronavirus cures and treatments through his business and website.
Marc “White Eagle” Travalino, 73, was served the civil injunction Tuesday after federal authorities say he sold an undercover special agent treatment for COVID-19 on May 5, 2020. The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning letter requiring Travalino to cease and desist sales of the unapproved and unproven products, but almost a week later he sold his treatments to another undercover agent.
According to Travalino’s website, “White Eagle Native Herbs,” he is a “grandfathered Medicine Man & Shaman” who is “registered with the Department of Interior & Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Sovereign Native Indian of the North American Continent & of the Shoshone Nation. It is White Eagle’s mission to educate the One people of humanity in his ancient teachings & knowledge in order to bring physical & spiritual healing by connecting mind, body, & spirit which brings well-being & optimum health.”
The website offers medicine-man consultations, spiritual clearings, native herbs, as well as native spiritual bathing, and native spiritual “smudging and blessings.”
Some of the products sold cost as little as $16 or as much as $3,500, like “Wekwennai,” which is described as an “extremely high powerful and
A search for “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” on the website provided no results.
The temporary restraining orders allow the federal government to close Travalino’s website while the investigation continues.
“I am pleased that the district court entered the temporary restraining order. Peddling bogus COVID-19 cures to fellow citizens is illegal and immoral. Our office will continue to shut down these scams,” stated U.S Attorney Bash.
The Department of Justice recommends that Americans take the following precautionary measures to protect themselves from known and emerging scams related to COVID-19:
- Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.
- Check the websites and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID19. Be aware that scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating. For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
- Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting your personal information for medical purposes. Legitimate health authorities will not contact the general public this way.
- Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.
- Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is operating and up to date.
- Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment. Remember, if a vaccine becomes available, you won’t hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch.
- Check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies. Avoid companies whose customers have complained about not receiving items.
- Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving any donation. Remember, an organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos on its materials. For online resources on donating wisely, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
- Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail. Don’t send money through any of these channels.
- Be cautious of “investment opportunities” tied to COVID-19, especially those based on claims that a small company’s products or services can help stop the virus. If you decide to invest, carefully research the investment beforehand. For information on how to avoid investment fraud, visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website.
Fort Davis is located about 80 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Border Report contributed to this story.