MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – A con man who once duped investors into buying machines he claimed could weigh the amount of gold in any object is behind bars in Miami-Dade for allegedly peddling a cream he said could turn back the hands of time.
Joseph Fox Batista, 55, who claims to be a relative of the Batistas who once ran Cuba, has been charged with grand theft and organized scheme to defraud.
Fox reportedly convinced investors to buy nearly $400 thousand worth of stock in his company, Telogenesis, Inc. which he said would produce a yogurt cream that would grow hair on balding men and, in general, reverse the aging process, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
Investigators said Fox pocketed a majority of investors’ funds and spent it on a luxurious lifestyle which included fancy apartments and lavish dinners. Fox admits to spending the money. He said as the CEO of the company he took a salary to pay for his shelter and food.
As for the product, he said he was on the verge of a breakthrough when he was persecuted by “shady forces” who may have been connected to the hair transplant industry. Miami Beach resident Peter Graves, 69, said he tried the yogurt-like cream and got a few new hairs but not the full head of hair he had hoped for.
Fox’s ‘miracle treatment’ does have some basis in science. The product touts a naturally occurring enzyme called telomerase which some researchers believe can stem the decline of cells. However, it has never thoroughly been tested regarding its ability to reverse the aging process in older humans. Fox said his product would work because he used a yogurt bacteria would get the enzyme into the body.
This was not Fox’s first run in with the law for peddling products. In 2002, he was convicted of grand theft and spent nearly a year in jail for his “Fox Gold Detector” scheme. Fox claimed it could find and weigh gold in any object and convinced nine investors to pay him $20 thousand for the machines; machines he never delivered. Fox claimed they were seized by “secret police” because the machine could detect phony gold bars in Fort Knox.
It was during his time in California that Fox, who was born Luis Miguel Hernandez Batista, said his family changed his name to protect him from the Castro regime. Miami lawyer Raoul Cantero, a grandson of former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, said he knows a lot of uncles, aunts and cousins but he’s never heard of Fox.