DALLAS — An 11-count indictment has been unsealed today against USPlabs LLC, a Dallas firm that formerly manufactured highly popular workout and weight loss supplements. The indictment charges USPlabs, S.K. Laboratories Inc. and their operators with a variety of charges related to the sale of those products. The announcement was made today at a news conference in Washington, D.C. in which officials announced a nationwide sweep of dietary supplement makers and marketers.
Jacobo Geissler, 39, of University Park, Texas, the CEO of USPlabs; Jonathan Doyle, 37, of Dallas, the president of USPlabs; Matthew Hebert, 37, of Dallas, responsible for product packaging design at USPlabs; Kenneth Miles, 69, of Panama City, Florida, the quality assurance executive in charge of compliance at USPlabs; S.K. Laboratories, Inc.; Sitesh Patel, 32, of Irvine, California, the vice president of S.K. Laboratories; and Cyril Willson, 34, of Gretna, Nebraska, a consultant to USPlabs, are charged with various counts associated with the unlawful sale of dietary supplements. Additionally, USPlabs, Geissler, Doyle and Hebert are charged with obstruction of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proceeding and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
All defendants, with the exception of Doyle and Miles were arrested earlier today. Along with the arrests, FDA and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation (CI) special agents seized assets in dozens of investment accounts, real estate in Dallas County, and a number of luxury and sports cars.
The indictment alleges that USPlabs engaged in a conspiracy to import ingredients from China using false certificates of analysis and false labeling and then lied about the source and nature of those ingredients after it put them in its products. According to the indictment, USPlabs told some of its retailers and wholesalers that it used natural plant extracts in products called Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, when in fact it was using a synthetic stimulant manufactured in a Chinese chemical factory.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants sold some of their products without determining whether they would be safe to use. To the contrary, as the indictment notes, the defendants knew of studies that linked the products to liver toxicity.
The indictment further alleges that USPlabs and its principals told FDA in October 2013 that it would stop distribution of OxyElite Pro, once the product had been implicated in an outbreak of liver injuries. The indictment alleges that, despite this promise, USPlabs engaged in a surreptitious, all-hands-on-deck effort to sell as much OxyElite Pro as it could as quickly as possible. It was sold at dietary supplement stores across the nation.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.
Upon conviction, however, the maximum statutory penalties are: conspiracy to commit wire fraud and each wire fraud count – 20 years and a $250,000 fine; conspiracy to commit money laundering – 20 years and a $500,000 fine, or twice the value of property involved in the transaction; obstruction of an agency proceeding and conspiracy to introduce misbranded food – five years and a $250,000 fine; introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce with an intent to defraud and mislead – three years and a $10,000 fine; and introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce and the introduction of adulterated dietary supplement into interstate commerce – one year and a $10,000 fine.
The FDA and IRS CI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Errin Martin and P. J. Meitl of the Northern District of Texas and Trial Attorneys David Sullivan and Patrick Runkle of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch are in charge of the prosecution.
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