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A Missouri court has ordered televangelist Jim Bakker and his church to pay $156,000 after viewers purchased a fake COVID-19 cure during the pandemic.
The settlement, announced by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, bans Bakker from advertising or selling the product to “diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness.” The total value represents $90,000 from the agreement in addition to payments and refunds that Bakker has already made.
The money will go toward refunding viewers who purchased the solution in February and March of 2020, Forbes reported.
“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,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.
Bakker sold the product 11 times through “The Jim Bakker Show.” Viewers could obtain the product by donating between $80 and $125 to the church.
Bakker admitted to no wrongdoing as part of the agreement, which his attorney argues supports that Bakker did not violate any laws or misled anyone, according to The Missouri Times.
Restitution checks will ship out within 30 days of consent judgement.
Former governor and attorney general Jay Nixon, who represented Bakker in the lawsuit, initially claimed that his client was unfairly targeted and that his First Amendment right was under threat.
Regulators warned Bakker in March 2020 to stop making false claims that could put people at risk of the virus. The chief ingredient, colloidal silver, “can be dangerous to your health,” according to the National Institute of Health.
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