SAN DIEGO – A La Mesa-based sanitation company pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to misleading customers into thinking its product was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to prosecutors.

The company called “Integral Hygienic Solutions, Inc, dba TruClean” promised customers that its product “TruClean 365” could eliminate bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19, the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California stated in news release Thursday.

Attorney officials goes on to state that the product was advertised as being effective for up to a year with just one use.

The company also told customers that its product had been tested and approved by the EPA after a year of “rigorous training.”

When it was the early part of the pandemic, the defendants put “TruClean” labels on bottles of chemical products bought from a different company on the East Coast.

The defendants’ Ray Louis Smith Jr., Ramont Joseph Smith and “TruClean” then marketed, sold, and distributed the newly re-labeled products as providing year-long protection against infection from viruses on its social media pages and website, according to attorney officials.

Products that kill viruses in the environment are categorized by the EPA as pesticides, but none of the products sold by “TruClean” were ever registered as that by the agency.

The sanitation company told the court that it sold over $800,000 worth of unregistered pesticides.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2023.