Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
Claims that say Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and former Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield are involved in a diamond mining business cited a financial filing from 2021 as evidence. Anyone can file the form against anyone else. The person who filed it told PolitiFact he did so to protest public safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no evidence to support the claim that the public officials are involved in a diamond mining business together.
A spokesman for DeSantis said the claim is false.
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.
Instagram post, Nov 13, 2022
Crater of Diamonds State Park, accessed Nov. 14, 2022
Value Penguin, What is the purpose of a UCC-1 financing statement? Accessed Nov. 15, 2022
Wolter Kluwer, The courts are clear: UCC-1s must be authorized to be effective, June 16, 2021
Amazon, The Uniform Commercial Code Made Easy, accessed Nov. 15, 2022
Reddit Thread, Nov. 12, 2022
Wyoming Secretary of State, The Paragon Diamonds, LLC, accessed Nov. 15, 2022
Phone interview with Robert LeVine, former law professor and author of a book titled "The Uniform Commercial Code Made Easy, Nov. 15, 2022
Phone interview with Robert Emerson, business law professor at the University of Florida, Nov. 15, 2022
Email interview with Paul Michael Walter, Nov. 15, 2022
Email interview with Bryan Griffin, press secretary to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Nov. 15, 2022
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.