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Dec. 18, 2020, 5:04 p.m. EST

CEO charged in alleged COVID-19 fraud scheme

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By Claudia Assis


The Justice Department said late Friday that a federal grand jury has indicted a California chief executive for allegedly concocting a scheme to defraud investors with false claims about a COVID-19 test. That led to millions of dollars in investors losses, the DOJ said. Keith Berman, 67, the CEO of Decision Diagnostics Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210557282/composite DECN 0.00% , was charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of making false statements, the DOJ said. The indictment alleges that, from February through December 2020, Berman falsely claimed Decision Diagnostics had developed a 15-second test to detect COVID-19 using a finger prick's worth of blood. Berman allegedly knew the test was "merely an idea and not a validated method of accurately detecting COVID-19, much less an actual product ready for manufacture and sale," the DOJ said. According to the indictment, Berman wanted to shore up his company's finances and falsely told investors that the Food and Drug Administration was on the verge of approving the company's request for emergency use for the test. Decision Diagnosticswas also on the radar of securities regulators in May.

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