Rife Device Marketer Sentenced to Prison
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
In February 2009, a jury found James Folsom guilty of 26 felony counts relating to his sale of unapproved medical devices. According to evidence presented at the trial:
- From 1997 through August 11, 2008, Folsom conspired with others to ship adulterated and misbranded Rife-type biofrequency devices in interstate commerce.
- The devices, sold under the names “NatureTronics,” “AstroPulse,” “BioSolutions,” “Energy Wellness,” and “Global Wellness,” consisted of a micro-current frequency generator with a digital readout, two stainless steel cylinders, and two personal application plates with connectors and lead wires connecting the device to the cylinders and the plates.
- Users were provided with an operating manual that set forth hundreds of digital settings for the device that were said to directed to specific conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, stroke, ulcers, and worms. Users were advised to connect the cylinders or plates to the machine and touch them to the body for a run time specified for each condition.
- Folsom purchased over 9,000 units, which he sold to distributors for approximately $1,000-$1,200 and to retail customers for $1,995, with sales of over $8 million. The devices were manufactured by Folsom and others in a San Diego location that he failed to register with the FDA as a device manufacturing establishment.
- Folsom used the false name “Jim Anderson” when selling the device and used post office boxes, self-storage units, and bank accounts opened in the names of others to conduct his business, all in an effort to avoid detection by the FDA. He also claimed that his devices were “for investigational purposes” and gave buyers the false impression that the FDA had approved them for investigation .
The jury also concluded that Folsom committed six of the offenses while on pretrial release. As a result, the Court concluded that he was not likely to refrain from further illegal activity and remanded him immediately into custody. In February 2010, Folsom was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and was sentenced to 59 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. The judge also ordered the destruction of more than 450 devices that the Government had seized during the execution of a search warrant at a self-storage unit used by Folsom .
The investigation was conducted by the FDA Office of Criminal Prosecution and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Folsom's device consists of a small black box with dials, a digital screen, and wires leading to a pair of stainless steel cylinders or metal plates. The box is plugged into an electrical socket, and a patient holds the cylinders or stands on the plates. The device was said to have been inspired by the work of Royal Raymond Rife (1888-1971), an American who claimed that cancer was caused by bacteria. During the 1920s, he claimed to have developed a powerful microscope that could detect living microbes by the color of auras emitted by their vibratory rates. His Rife Frequency Generator allegedly generated radio waves with precisely the same frequency, causing the offending bacteria to shatter in the same manner as a crystal glass breaks in response to the voice of an opera singer. The American Cancer Society has pointed out that although sound waves can produce vibrations that break glass, radio waves at the power level emitted by a Rife generator do not have sufficient energy to destroy bacteria .
Folsom is a former business associate of Kimberly Bailey, a Fallbrook, California woman who sold similar devices until she was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for plotting the kidnapping, torture and murder of Richard C. Post III, her business partner and lover . The evidence presented at her trial established that in August 1998, she conspired with John Bryon Krueger and Humberto Iribe to kidnap Richard C. Post, III. In 1998, in accordance with the plan, Bailey lured Post to Mexico where he was kidnapped by Iribe and men working for him. Iribe and his men held Post hostage in Mexico for approximately about five days, brutally beat him, and finally killed him. The evidence presented at trial and sentencing established that Krueger repeatedly met and spoke with Bailey and Iribe while Post was held hostage. The evidence further established that Bailey paid Iribe approximately $40,000 to have Post kidnapped and about $10,000 more to have him killed [5,6]. Krueger was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years supervised release and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. Uribe was eventually caught, pled guilty in 2007, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison .
Krueger, who had worked for Bailey, also received a concurrent sentence of 30 months for conspiring to introduce unapproved medical devices in interstate commerce. In pleading guilty, he admitted that he agreed to act as the Administrator of the Royal Rife Research Society, the purpose of which was to promote the use of Rife devices for the treatment and cure of diseases and physical conditions. Although the Society purported to be an independent research organization unaffiliated with any manufacturer of biofrequency devices, Krueger admitted that the Society referred likely buyers to himself or Bailey.
- USDOJ news release, Feb 17, 2009.
- USDOJ news release, Feb 8, 2010.
- American Cancer Society. Questionable methods of cancer management: Electronic devices. CA—A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 44:115-127, 1994.
- Darcé K. San Diego man convicted of selling illegal medical device. San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb 18, 2009.
- USDOJ news release, Nov 1, 2002.
- Statement of facts. In Government's trial memorandum. USA v, Kimberley Bailey. U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, filed June 12, 2002.
- Manolatos T. S.D. man's abduction a cautionary, brutal tale. San Diego Union-Tribune, May 6, 2008.
This article was revised on February 22, 2010.