A second person pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with a scheme to defraud consumers by selling light-emitting devices as a treatment for more than 200 different diseases and disorders, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Irina Kossovskaia, 63, of Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty in the District of South Dakota to one count of conspiracy to introduce misbranded medical devices into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead.
Kossovskaia faced charges along with Robert “Larry” Lytle and Fredretta Eason, both of Rapid City and both with still-pending charges, relating to their involvement with the devices, known as the “QLaser System.” A fourth person, Ronald D. Weir Jr., pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy last February and is awaiting sentencing.
According to court documents, Kossovskaia and co-conspirators including Lytle and Weir marketed and distributed QLaser devices by falsely claiming that the devices could safely and effectively treat a panoply of medical conditions at home, including cancer, diabetes, autism, HIV and heart disease. No published clinical or scientific studies supported the use of QLaser devices to treat such serious conditions, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration never approved the devices for such use.
As part of her plea agreement, Kossovskaia admitted that she and Lytle made false claims about the QLasers’ curative powers to mislead consumers into purchasing the devices, which sold for over $4,000 per unit. Kossovskaia further admitted to assisting Lytle by smuggling hundreds of QLaser devices out of Rapid City to her facility in upstate New York after a federal court ordered Lytle to stop selling the devices. Kossovskaia continued to sell the devices until 2017 and funneled tens of thousands of dollars in proceeds to Lytle, even though he was under court order to refund consumers for every QLaser purchase made since 2001.
U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier accepted Kossovkaia’s plea. In addition to fines, Kossovskaia faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years’ imprisonment. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated this case. Trial Attorney Ross S. Goldstein of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota are prosecuting the case.