Looking for diamonds? Dr. Anthony Fauci and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are, too. At least, that’s what a conspiracy theory says.
The viral claim was shared across social media platforms, including this Nov. 13 Instagram post. It included a screenshot of a tweet that said DeSantis and Fauci, along with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Dr. Robert Redfield, the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, “are ALL in a diamond mining business in Oklahoma together!”
The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook.)
There’s no evidence that these government officials are involved in an Oklahoma diamond mining business. For one thing, the only active diamond mine in the United States is in Murfreesboro, Arkansas — not Oklahoma.
Bryan Griffin, press secretary to DeSantis, confirmed to PolitiFact that the claim is “completely false.”
The claim includes a screenshot of a form, a Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statement, or UCC, as supposed evidence. The form is filed by a creditor “as a public notice that the creditor has the right to take possession of the assets as repayment on the underlying debt,” according to Value Penguin, a financial content and research website.
That said, “In theory, anyone can file a UCC-1 against anyone else,” according to Wolters Kluwer, an information services company. In a June 2021 article, the company noted two cases that “show how easy it is for unauthorized UCC-1s to be filed,” one of which involved a man suing movie studios for $400 million because he said they based the movie “Titanic” on his life story (a case that was dismissed).
In the diamond mine claim, Paul Michael Walters filed the Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statement that was screenshotted in the Instagram post. He told PolitiFact that he filed it in January 2021 to protest public safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legal business experts that we spoke to said that the form is null because it was misused.
We also found a letter Walters wrote to the DeSantis administration in August 2020 decrying mask mandates.
Walters said he formerly owned The Paragon Diamonds LLC, a company that’s named on the UCC filing and appears to form the basis for the diamond mining claim. But it is not a diamond mining business and was not registered in Oklahoma, Walters said. He said it was registered in Wyoming, and we found it listed in the Wyoming secretary of state business registry.
We rate the claim that DeSantis, Fauci, Moody and Redfield are in a diamond mining business Pants on Fire!
PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.
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