Jim Bakker Ordered To Pay $156K To People He Scammed With Fake COVID 'Cure'
It seems so long ago now, but before conservatives started insisting that COVID-19 was not a big deal, they were trying to get their pandemic grift on. Alas, there was a swift crackdown on all of that nonsense and they immediately started getting in actual trouble for trying to convince people that it could be cured by drinking magic bleach or taking colloidal silver, both of which could make you seriously ill.
One of the people who got in trouble was convicted fraudster/televangelist Jim Bakker, who was pushing the colloidal silver and telling people it could cure anything, despite the fact that the only thing it actually cures is the color of one's skin, if one would rather be blue.
Bakker has now been ordered by a Missouri Court to pay $156,000 in restitution fees to the people he scammed with his snake oil.
"Today I'm pleased to announce that the Missouri Attorney General's Office has obtained a consent judgment against Jim Bakker and Morningside Church Productions that results in $156,000 in restitution and strong safeguards to prevent the marketing of 'silver solution' as a cure or treatment for COVID and other medical issues," said Attorney General Schmitt. "My Office will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of Missouri consumers, and will not hesitate to take action when those consumers are being defrauded."
Under the consent judgment, which was signed yesterday by Judge Alan Blankenship, Bakker is not allowed to sell or advertise "silver solution" as a way to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness, and must return an additional $90,000 to consumers who purchased "silver solution" between February 12, 2020, and March 10, 2020.
Well that's nice.
Unfortunately, while Jim Bakker can't sell colloidal silver as a cure for anything anymore, hundreds of other companies can, which — ugh — actually makes this a little unfair. There are tons of sellers for it online, including one that sells it in a bottle that even looks like an old-timey bottle of snake oil.
Quite frankly, given that we know that colloidal silver doesn't actually do anything other than turn people's skin blue, it should be illegal for anyone to sell as a cure-all. The fact is, there are a whole lot of con-artists out there and a whole lot of desperate people in this country who cannot afford health care, and that is just a bad combination all over. At the very least, if these companies can't be put out of business, they should be required to put giant labels on their products saying they don't actually do anything, like the warnings on cigarette boxes. I would like to see a big ol "This doesn't actually do anything and also water does not have a memory" sticker slapped onto every homeopathy product, and a "Bleach. This is bleach. You're drinking bleach." sticker on bottles of that Magical Miracle Solution. I'm sorry, but "This product is not FDA approved" doesn't do it.
Because really, it's a horrible and cruel thing to do to people even in non-pandemic times and it should at least be taken more seriously than it currently is, which is not at all. It's great that Jim Bakker is being held accountable for this, and he should be, but the nonsense is much more widespread than just him.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse