Quack COVID Group America’s Frontline Doctors Is Suing Its ‘Rogue Founder’ Simone Gold

The suit accuses Gold, who was convicted of trespassing on January 6, of misappropriating funds and attempting to re-seize control of the organization. 
Image shows Simone Gold speaking on Fox News with a chyron under her that says "Medical establishment's war against hydroxychloroquine."
Simone Gold is interviewed on Fox News on July 10, 2020. Screenshot via Fox News.

America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS), the pseudo-medical group that rocketed to pandemic infamy by spreading bad information about COVID, advocating for discredited treatments, fearmongering about vaccines, and attempting to influence state legislation, is suing one of its founders in federal court, months after her release from prison. 


AFLDS filed suit on November 4 against Dr. Simone Gold, accusing her of misappropriating AFLDS funds to buy a $3.6 million home, rent another property, purchase three luxury vehicles, and fund a housekeeper, personal security detail, and thousands of dollars a month in other, unspecified personal expenses. The suit also accuses Gold of tortious interference, claiming she’s seeking to “to take back control of AFLDS and restore herself into a leadership role with the organization.” In September, Gold finished serving almost 60 days in prison on a trespassing charge after she entered the U.S. Capitol during the January 6, 2021 insurrection. 

The suit was filed by AFLDS and top official Joseph Gilbert, a former boxer and current attorney who, according to the lawsuit, took over as the group’s chair, CEO, and “Director of Strategy” in February 2022. It offers an unusually frank and detailed look at how much money AFLDS has made pushing discredited COVID cures and bad science, and how much is at stake for those currently fighting for control of the organization.  

According to the suit, Gilbert took over running AFLD’s day-to-day operations while Gold served her prison sentence. By that time, the suit alleges, the organization was already “aware of Gold’s uses of AFLDS funds,” and had hired a forensic auditor and had its outside accounting firm “begin a financial audit in order to determine what next steps should be taken with regard to Gold’s use of AFLDS funds for her personal use.”


The suit alleges that upon her release from prison, Gold “wanted to take back control of AFLDS and restore herself into a leadership role with the organization,” though she had, the group claims, no official role other than as a consultant. It alleges that Gold emailed the AFLDS board in October accusing Gilbert of unspecified “wrongdoing,” and “demanded that the Board take certain steps to essentially remove Mr. Gilbert from the Board and investigate her allegations.”

The suit claims that the board retained legal counsel to investigate Gold’s allegations, but that as it did so, “Gold began threatening the Board, AFLDS’ counsel, and employees that she would interfere with AFLDS donors, to persuade them not to make donations to AFLDS if her demands were not met.” The suit also alleges that Gold continued representing AFLDS in “speaking engagements” and “falsely told donors that Mr. Gilbert had engaged in financial improprieties, ethical violations, and corruption.” And it claims that Gold identified herself as AFLDS’s chairman and president when she was no longer either, describing a remarkably funny press-release based coup attempt: “On November 3, 2022, without the authorization of the Board, Gold purportedly on behalf of AFLDS, and identifying herself as the ‘Chairman and President of AFLDS,’ released a press release that reported she had ‘resumed’ her role as Chairman and President of AFLDS and repeated Gold’s allegations against Mr. Gilbert that she announced to the AFLDS employees,” the suit claims. (Gold shared that press release on Twitter.) And on November 6, 2022, it alleges, Gold, “without the authorization of the Board, directed AFLDS employees to seize control of AFLDS’ electronic mail, website domain name systems (‘DNS’), and other electronic databases” and lock some employees out of those systems. 


The suit also makes numerous allegations about what Gold did with the organization’s apparently copious funds, alleging that in November 2021, she purchased a $3.6 million home in Naples, Florida with AFLDS funds, “without authorization or approval by the Board of Directors.” Soon after, it alleges, she signed a residential lease on another Naples property, and a fellow self-proclaimed medical freedom activist and his wife lived “rent free.” 

The suit also accuses Gold of using AFLDS funds to buy “a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, a Hyundai Genesis, and a GMC Denali” for her personal use, as well as paying a personal security officer $12,000 per month and a housekeeper $5,600, “and otherwise spending money for personal items on AFLDS credit cards at a rate of nearly $50,000 per month.” The suit also alleges the home was used by GoldCare employees; GoldCare is a telemedicine service founded by Gold that charges $1,000 per year for individual memberships, and—of course—does not accept insurance. 

The suit also accuses Gold of fraud, conversion, breaches of fiduciary duty, and defamation, and alleges damages in excess of $75,000. AFLDS and Gilbert are asking for a jury trial. 

News of the suit was first shared on Twitter by Abby Mahler, a photographer and lupus and disability justice advocate who often talks about medical disinformation online. Mahler has frequently covered the ways that patients with various autoimmune diseases suffered as a result of not being able to access hydroxychloroquine. The drug became much, much harder to find after groups like AFLDS began flogging it as unproven COVID treatment. Mahler told Motherboard that they’ve heard countless stories from other people with autoimmune conditions, what they called “devastating months- to years-long impacts of missing meds.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Gold has promoted false information about COVID and COVID vaccines, which she called “an experimental, biological agent deceptively named a vaccine” in the speech she delivered on the Capitol floor during the attempted insurrection. Besides advocating for hydroxychloroquine, she also downplayed the effectiveness of basic public health interventions like masks, writing on her personal blog in 2020, “The scientific usefulness of a mask has been so aggressively overstated.” 

Previously, Gold and AFLDS made some strides in solidifying their relationships with conservative lawmakers. Last year, as VICE News  previously reported, lawmakers in at least five states introduced proposed “Vaccine Bill of Rights” bills with language that closely mirrored model legislation written by AFLDS. Upon her release from prison, Gold was presented with an American flag recently flown over the U.S. Capitol by Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert. 

Gold has continued primarily identifying herself as AFLDS’ founder online; she was also recently a featured speaker on the Reawaken America tour, a traveling hodgepodge of far-right, QAnon and COVID-denying personalities.  Medical records show Gold is still licensed to practice medicine in both California and Florida. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Motherboard.