“Those words used by the government to dismiss this case – “in the interests of justice” – ring especially true today for the millions affected by this misguided effort to destroy Proove. There has been so much injustice over the past 6 years that it is wonderful to see truth prevail. I am excited to have the opportunity to set the record straight and to move forward from here with my head held high.
You build a reputation over a life’s journey. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been blessed to initiate and be involved in efforts proven by U.S. government statistics to save tens of thousands of lives. Whether as a community activist, elected official, or entrepreneur, I’ve been on a mission to make the world a better place and I am grateful for what I have been able to achieve working together with many amazing and passionate people.
This controversy over the past six years was completely inconsistent with the previous 40 years of my life. It was personally and professionally traumatic, embarrassing, and unjust. This abuse was personally traumatic to my family – especially my three kids who had to deal with the embarrassment and financial destruction of their dad. It’s hard to put into words what it was like to go from having a stellar reputation and respected integrity for decades to then having to wear a ‘scarlet letter’ due to false, defamatory, and highly damaging “fake news” stories and irresponsible government actions that called into question my honesty and credibility.
Ultimately, the facts spoke for themselves. The Department of Justice moved to dismiss the baseless charges on their own motion and “in the interests of justice.” Proove was always about proof – hence the name. Could we predict what would work for a patient or who was at risk, and could we then track what happens to prove the accuracy of our prediction? This was at the heart of why I founded the Company at my dining room table in 2009 and led an amazing team of scientists, software developers, researchers, lab personnel and others for 8 years as we built a company that we were all very proud of.
This work was destroyed by misinformation spread by a handful of disgruntled ex-employees and contractors, spread by the media, and blindly adopted by some in the Southern District of California office of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI. That misinformation and false and defamatory allegations directed at Proove hurt thousands of people beyond the company itself, including the many patients and their families who have died from or whose lives were impacted by opioid overdoses and suicide that could have been prevented with access to Proove’s life-saving technology. It also was traumatic for the families of the hundreds of Proove employees who lost their jobs and incomes, and had their reputations called into question. These actions also harmed the thousands of doctors and dozens of hospitals who relied upon Proove testing to help their patients, including the good folks at National Spine & Pain Center.
Proove and the other defendants were victims of false reports that are easily disproven, but were spread by a few disgruntled ex-employees and recklessly published by STAT News writer, Charles Piller over multiple years. Piller, who now writes for Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, caused significant harm to all of us involved with Proove, exacerbating the false reports and baselessly drawing the attention of law enforcement. Along with other large genetic testing companies at the time, Proove received a subpoena in June 2017, and a governmental inquiry ensued. The inquiry was coordinated out of the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of California, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Green. Green, who had never prosecuted a healthcare fraud case before, and FBI Agent Leah Chambers, took an inexperienced, heavy-handed, and media-focused approach that resulted in Proove’s revenue dropping by 90% in 30 days due to the false media reports, and ultimately having to halt operations. While the government’s efforts eventually failed, Proove and me personally, have paid the price for many years.
In an attempt to “save face” after spending millions of taxpayer dollars and being unable to obtain any convictions or financial penalties for their efforts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California secured a plea agreement from a former sales distributor of Proove who was under investigation. In exchange for what turned out to be false information, the government agreed to ease the sales distributor’s sentence. Then, in the summer of 2021, NSPC, as a corporation, paid “walk away” money to the government to avoid costly litigation against the false allegations without any admission of wrongdoing. Thereafter, the Proove executives and NSPC doctors were indicted.
As the founder and CEO of Proove, I have felt a tremendous personal burden due to the pain that this injustice caused so many people for whom I care about. Even though we have been vindicated – as the truth has finally prevailed “in the interests of justice” - I personally know that nothing can be done now to take away the pain that was caused, and the damage that was done because of these false allegations. For that, I am so sorry. I wish I could have prevented this. Just know that we are exploring ways to restore what was destroyed and I know many of our Proove team want to work together again.
After the millions of lives harmed and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted in this foolish investigation, the government apparently can just say, “Oops, we are withdrawing and dismissing all charges.” Beyond how they purposefully smeared my reputation with false statements, they destroyed a company back in 2017 that was worth in excess of $200 million that provided a solution to our nation’s leading cause of preventable death, employed hundreds, and supported all of their families, earned millions in annual revenue and paid taxes, supported many other vendors and small businesses, helped many doctors and hospitals save patient lives or improve their conditions, and was preparing to IPO in 2017 to fund its mission to save lives and solve two epidemics – opioid overdoses and chronic pain. Instead of the good that could have been done over these past six years, these epidemics have just gotten worse: opioid overdoses have continued at a fast pace, and the chronic pain crisis has become 10% of all suicides in America. What do these specific government officials have to say in the face of this reality? Will they leverage the media now as they did at the time of the subpoena and indictments to address the damage done to my company, to me, and to all those involved, or just walk quietly away?
Having previously taken the oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of this great country and served as an elected official with distinction honoring that oath, I believe the actions of this Southern District of California prosecution team and these FBI agents – some of whom were disqualified due to not following procedures - are unfair to the many good public servants in government who serve our nation honorably. Also, I believe this sadly continues a trend of what we are seeing over the past several years where certain incidents raise questions about the government’s power.
As for me, I am grateful for a loving and ever-present Heavenly Father, and for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who has helped me carry this heavy cross when I just didn’t have the strength. I am so proud of what we achieved at Proove Biosciences from 2009 until 2017, and I am so thankful that I can freely and publicly speak about this situation now to set the record straight and help others who face similar injustices.
I look forward to healing and rebuilding – personally and professionally. I am grateful to those family, friends, and colleagues who stood by me, told the truth and defended us. I am grateful for my legal team, my D&O insurance at Western World and AIG, and others who helped me navigate this traumatic situation. I know that we have had angels helping us every step of the way, as it is incredible to stand up with a little slingshot and win against the tidal wave of lies spread by irresponsible media outlets and the “giant” unlimited resources of the U.S. government.
I can’t think of a better gift during this holiday season, and I am hopeful for the new year.”