Defiant Black Salve Seller Gets Six-Year Prison Sentence
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
In 2017, Samuel A. Girod, 57, was sentenced to six years in prison plus three years of supervised release for (a) impeding an officer of the United States, (b) obstruction of proceedings before a federal agency, (c) witness tampering, (d) failure to appear, and (e) nine violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act involving products he made and distributed. The judge also ordered Girod to pay a $1,300 assessment plus $14,239.08 in restitution to customers . At various times, Girod did business as Satterfield Naturals, S.A.E.G., and A.M.S. Associates, through which he manufactured and/or marketed products for treating such ailments as skin disorders, cancer, and sinus infections.
Press reports indicate that Girod is Amish and lives on a family farm with his wife and their 12 children and 25 grandchildren. They also note that he has made and sold herbal products for over 20 years but has never registered with the FDA . Court documents indicate that he has been the object of FDA regulatory attention since at least 2001:
The Criminal Case
|In 2015, Girod was indicted for illegal marketing and failing to cooperate with FDA enforcement officials . In 2014, Girod had notified the FDA and the Missouri U.S. Attorney's office that he had set up Satterfield Naturals as a private membership association, would market products only to its members, and should no longer be within the jurisdiction of the FDA [6,7]. In 2015, he warned the FDA and Missouri U.S. Attorney's office that "any interference with our private association activities may result in a Federal civil and Constitutional Rights lawsuit" against any individuals who interfered . However, during the criminal proceedings, the court ruled that Girod's theories about "private membership" protection were not viable and granted the prosecutors' motion to prevent them from being asserted at trial [9-10]. In January 2017, the court ordered Girod into custody because he had failed to show up for court hearings over a five-month period . In February 2017, the failure to show up was added to the list of charges. After a three-day trial, during most of which he acted as his own attorney, the jury convicted him of all 13 charges. He has appealed the conviction, but I do not believe he will be successful.||
Products labeled "Private Members Only"
Supporters are portraying Girod's prosecution as government overreach. In a TV interview after Girod was sentenced, one said: "All this is an innocent naive Amish farmer making a living." During the trial, the prosecutors said that "Girod doesn't recognize rules that aren't his own" and "had brought the charges on himself."  I believe that the prosecutors were correct.
- FDA advises dietary supplement manufacturers to remove comfrey products from the market
- Barrett S. Don't use corrosive cancer salves (escharotics)
- Barrett S. Some notes on the Pastoral Medical Association and other "Private Membership Associations"
- Novella S. Amish farmer jailed for selling snake oil. Science-Based Medicine, July 5, 2017.
- Judgment. U.S.A. v Samuel Girod. Case No 5:15-CR-87-S-DCR-1, July 3, 2017.
- Thornton H. WKYT investigation: Amish farmer in jail awaiting trial, facing time in federal prison. WKYT-TV, Jan 26, 2017.
- First amended complaint for forfeiture in rem and for condemnation and permanent injunction. U.S.A vs. 1,149 four ounce round metal tins, more or less, of an article of drug, labeled in part "Chickweed Healing Salve" "usage: good for skin disorders" "made by: S.A.E.G..", et al. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division. Case No. 12-00362-CV-W-GAF, filed Sept 28, 2012.
- Amended order. U.S.A vs. 1,149 four ounce round metal tins, more or less, of an article of drug, labeled in part "Chickweed Healing Salve" "usage: good for skin disorders" "made by: S.A.E.G..", et al. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division. Case No. 12-00362-CV-W-GAF, filed Sept 17, 2013.
- Indictment. U.S.A. v. Samuel A. Girod. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky. Case No. 5:15-cr-00087-DCR-REW, filed Oct 1, 2015.
- Girod S. Notice of Satterfield Naturals to sell and market products to private members only in the private domain. Letter to FDA officials, Feb 13, 2014.
- Girod S. Letter to Curt Bohling and FDA. Feb 21, 2014.
- Girod S. Illegal harassment and intimidation of the Private Health Membership Association members. Letter to FDA and Missouri U.S. Attorney's Office, Sept 8, 2015.
- United States motion in limine to exclude private membership association defense. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky. Case No. 5:15-cr-00087-DCR-REW, filed June 22, 2016.
- Memorandum opinion and order. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky. Case No. 5:15-cr-00087-DCR-REW, filed July 26, 2016.
- Bond violation proceeding. U.S.A. v. Samuel A. Girod. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky. Case No. 5:15-cr-00087-DCR-REW, filed Jan 13, 2017.
- Convicted Amish farmer sentenced to six years in prison. WKYT-TV, June 30, 2017.
This article was posted on July 10, 2017.