For almost six years Michael Harris solicited investments
in M.F. Harris Research, Inc. Eighty investors put up thousands of dollars for
what they understood was a possible treatment for HIV/AIDS. The investment was
a fraud. Yesterday a jury convicted Mr. Harris of securities, mail and wire
fraud on proof that in fact he was running an investment fund fraud. U.S. v.
Harris, Case No. 3:12-cr-00170 (E.D. Va. Verdict March 4, 2013.
Harris Research was formed in 2003 supposedly to develop
a treatment HIV/AIDS. Mr. Harris claimed to have discovered that hyperbaric
chambers used to treat divers for the bends inhibited the HIV/AIDS virus. He
claimed Harris Research was pursuing a potential treatment regimen for the
virus using the chamber.
Beginning in 2005 Mr. Harris and his company solicited
investors to develop the treatment. Those investors were told that:
Patents: Harris Research was
obtaining patents in the U.S. and abroad for its treatment;
Human trials: That
the company was conducting human trials or assisting with human trials using
Continuing research: Harris
Research was engaged in continuing research; and
Treatment: The company was
developing a treatment.
Many investors were requested to put up only $1 on the
promise that the company would increase in value 10 to 20 fold. In some
instances investors were told funds were urgently needed because of patent
In fact the evidence at trial demonstrated that Mr.
Harris' claims were false. The investment fund was a fraud. Investors were not
told the actual financial condition of the company or the use being made of
their funds. Most of the $880,000 in investor funds was misappropriated by Mr.
Harris and used for his personal benefit.
The date for sentencing has not been set.
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