A London preacher has been found guilty of fraud after selling a fake covid cure for £91 during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Bishop Climate Wiseman warned his followers at Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London that they could end up “dropping dead” if they did not buy his oil – made of hyssop, cedarwood and olive oil.
The mixture was sold for £91 as part of a “divine plague protection kit” alongside a prayer card and a scarlet yearn. It was also sold under the names “divine cleansing oil” and “plague protection oil”.
On his website, Wiseman said the ingredients in the oil “act like an invisible barrier” and that “coronavirus and any other deadly thing will pass over”.
Wiseman, who is the head of the Kingdom Church, told a court he was inspired to sell the oil after he was visited by God who told him he is a prophet who can cure Covid.
He also claimed he had performed other miracles in the past, such as curing the blind, and believed the oil could cure him and his members from coronavirus because of their faith.
10 witnesses from his congregation testified that the oil cured or prevented them from getting Covid after using the oil.
Southwark Trading Standards was alerted to the scam on March 24 2020 – the day after the UK government enforced a nationwide lockdown. The BBC also carried out an investigation.
Wiseman denied fraud and two alternative counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. However, he was found guilty by a jury at Inner London Crown Court on Thursday (December 8) of the more serious offence of fraud between March 23 2020 and March 24 last year by a majority of 11 to one.
Speaking after the verdict, Southwark councillor Evelyn Akoto – cabinet member for health and wellbeing – said: “There were a lot of vulnerable people at that time who were really scared and didn’t know where to turn.
“And this was a potential cure, so a lot of people believed in it, unfortunately, and succumbed to pay high costs for something we know doesn’t work.
“We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve got this guilty verdict.”
Wiseman has been granted bail ahead of sentencing on January 13.
[Image: AmyLv via Shutterstock]