PA man who sold “miracle canine cancer cures” sentenced to eight years in federal jail

21 February 2024- United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Jonathan Nyce, 73, of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $500 special assessment for carrying out a years-long scheme to defraud pet owners of money by falsely claiming to sell drugs that could cure canine cancer. A federal jury convicted Nyce of wire fraud and the interstate shipment of misbranded animal drugs in December 2022.

In perpetrating the scheme, Nyce created several companies, including “Canine Care,” “ACGT,” and “CAGT,” through which he purported to develop drugs intended to treat cancer in dogs. Beginning in 2012, using various websites for these companies, the defendant marketed these “cancer-curing” medications to desperate pet owners, using the drug names “Tumexal” and “Naturasone.” The websites made numerous false and fraudulent claims regarding the safety and efficacy of these supposed drugs, including that “Tumexal is effective against a wide variety of cancers,” and, “[i]n fact, Tumexal will almost always restore a cancer-stricken dog’s appetite, spirit and energy!” In reality, these drugs were nothing more than a collection of bulk ingredients from various sources, which the defendant blended together himself at a facility on Arcola Road in Collegeville.

Further, through email and telephone conversations, Nyce induced the owners of terminally ill dogs to pay him hundreds or thousands of dollars for these drugs by touting the effectiveness of his products in treating a host of canine cancers. He also told prospective customers that their pets could become part of clinical trials, but in order to do so, they had to pay him large sums of money. Evidence presented at trial showed the defendant sold nearly $1,000,000 worth of drugs to approximately 900 different victims. The defendant’s marketing, sale, and shipment of these drugs violated the Food and Drug Administration’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because the drugs were not approved by the FDA. The defendant even falsely claimed in promotional materials that his company’s research was “funded in part by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

“In shopping these worthless ‘drugs’ to desperate pet owners, Jonathan Nyce’s actions were both criminal and cruel,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “He deliberately exploited people’s emotions, their love for their ailing dogs, purely for his own financial gain. Many people consider dogs members of their families, so they’re especially vulnerable to such schemes. For defrauding his victims and thumbing his nose at the FDA, justice demanded that Mr. Nyce be held accountable.”

“The FDA’s animal drug approval process ensures that our pets receive safe and effective products. Ignoring the FDA’s requirements and selling unapproved drugs to vulnerable U.S. consumers will not be tolerated,” said George A. Scavdis, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “We will aggressively pursue and bring to justice those criminals who place profits above the health and safety of animal patients.”