A New York man who claims he’s a former White House official is accused of selling stolen COVID-19 testing kits and leaving consumers without results.
Henry Sylvain Gindt II, 34, is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for offering home-testing kits, which he allegedly obtained illegally from a lab employee, for $135 to $200 each.
In a press release for his company, YouHealth, Inc., Gindt described himself as “a former Trump Administration official who helped launch the Office of American Innovation at The White House with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump,” and others.
It’s unclear whether Gindt was working under the Trumps, but records indicate someone named Henry S. Gindt was a federal employee in 2017 and 2018 under the category “Miscellaneous Administration and Program.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh says Gindt, who lives in Queens, falsely claimed to be affiliated with a certified lab that would analyze the buyers’ samples.
“Let this be a message to anyone who wants to scam our fellow citizens during this pandemic: the Department of Justice will take swift action to disrupt your scheme and then we will arrest you,” U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said.
“Gindt tried to profit from the pandemic by selling stolen test kits and services without ever delivering the promised results,” Brady added in a statement. “Instead, we shut him down and now he is facing prison time.”
The alleged fraudster called YouHealth a “telemedicine and personalized nutrition, wellness and DNA genetics testing company” and advertised the coronavirus tests—which included nasal swabs and packaging for the lab—on his websites and in unsolicited emails to consumers in states including Pennsylvania. One Pennsylvania resident who received Gindt’s email tipped off authorities.
Prosecutors say Gindt did not conduct medical screening prior to shipping the kits to consumers overnight via FedEx. Instead, buyers received a request to complete a medical questionnaire to screen for coronavirus symptoms after they purchased the product, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.
YouHealth’s website claimed the company had “the capacity to run 3,000 tests per day through its lab partners,” the affidavit states.
U.S. Secret Service agent Chase Clowser, who filed the affidavit, tried to buy a kit from YouHealth on April 1 but couldn’t complete the purchase. He then called the company’s customer service number and Gindt answered, the court filing alleges.
Gindt allegedly told the agent his samples would be processed at a lab in Georgia and that his father, Dr. Henry Gindt, would review the results.
Agent Clowser contacted that lab days later, but says administrators there “were adamant” they had no connection to YouHealth or its staff. The CEO of the laboratory allegedly determined a former employee identified only as “T.A.” was terminated for selling testing kits without the company’s authorization.
T.A. stole 50 test kits from his lab and sold them to YouHealth for $7,500, the affidavit alleges. The employee—identified in one article as Tim Allen, chief operating officer of Life Hope Labs in Georgia—gave media interviews about his home-testing products related to COVID, the document states.
Meanwhile, U.S. Postal Inspector Randy Hayden conducted interviews of the consumers who were swindled by Gindt. One resident of Park Ridge, Illinois, said they were not feeling well in February and a co-worker referred them to the YouHealth website. They remember Gindt being associated with the transaction.
A Texas resident told Hayden they purchased the kit after a local hospital denied them a test even though they had coronavirus symptoms.
Although the Texan dropped the testing kit in the mail using a pre-paid return label, they were notified the kit had been damaged in shipment. The buyer requested a refund but never received it, the affidavit says.