Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has been the target of misinformation claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, VERIFY fact-checked false claims that Bourla hadn’t received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. He did.
VERIFY received questions via email and text about whether Bourla was arrested by the FBI for fraud on Nov. 5. Facebook posts (including this one shared more than 600 times) and tweets (including this one retweeted more than 1,000 times) say the Pfizer CEO was arrested.
Was Pfizer’s CEO arrested by the FBI for fraud?
No, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was not arrested by the FBI for fraud on Nov. 5.
WHAT WE FOUND
The source of the claim appears to be a blog called “Conservative Beaver.” A post on the website published Nov. 5 says: “Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was arrested at his home in the affluent suburb of Scarsdale, New York Friday morning by the FBI and charged with multiple counts of fraud. Bourla is being held while he awaits a bail hearing.”
The Conservative Beaver claims in the post that it talked to an FBI agent that said: “Pfizer lied about the effectiveness of the vaccines, and misled customers about the serious side effects the vaccines can produce. Pfizer is accused of paying off governments and the mainstream media to stay silent.”
VERIFY searched the inmate list at the jail in Westchester County, the county in which Scarsdale, New York, is located, and found no record of Bourla in custody. A search of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate list also found no record of Bourla being in custody. A database of court cases across the country, called PACER, has no record of a criminal fraud case filed against Bourla.
A Pfizer spokesperson told VERIFY in an email, “This is a false claim.”
On Nov. 5, the day the blog post said the Pfizer CEO was arrested and “being held,” Bourla made TV appearances on CNN and CNBC to discuss the company’s antiviral pill intended to fight COVID-19.
“Conservative Beaver” has previously published false stories, including this story with the headline “Biden announces internment camps for unvaccinated people, will open in 2022.”
VERIFY has found no credible media reports or documentation that Bourla was arrested by the FBI on fraud charges.
More from VERIFY: Yes, Pfizer’s CEO did get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine