February 17, 2016: Two Men Sentenced For Involvement in Scheme to Distribute Misbranded Drugs
HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Almuntasser “Alex” Hbaiu, age 34, and Michael Kang, age 46, both of Los Angeles, California, were sentenced on February 11, 2016 by U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Judge John A. Kronstadt.
Judge Kronstadt sentenced Hbaiu to 24 months in prison for distribution of misbranded drugs, and structuring financial transactions with proceeds from criminal activity of more than $10,000. Hbaiu was ordered to pay a $60,000 fine and to forfeit his interest in the house at 1806 Meadow Ridge Drive, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, $20,000 cash and the contents of two bank accounts. Hbaiu also agreed to the destruction of all seized sexual enhancement supplements.
Kang was sentenced to one month in prison, five months home confinement and a $5,000 fine for distribution of misbranded drugs.
Criminal charges were originally brought against Hbaiu in the Middle District of Pennsylvania in March 2013 before U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo and were later transferred to California.
According to the United States Attorney’ Office, Hbaiu was involved in companies that sold drugs including “Mojo Nights,” “Libigrow” and “Blue Diamond” marketed as “all natural” versions of drugs such as Viagra. In fact, the drugs contained sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra, and Tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis. The misbranded “performance enhancers” products were sold on internet web sites as well as physical locations, including one in York County.
Kang headed companies in the Los Angeles area that supplied companies owned by Hbaiu with the misbranded dietary supplements and their ingredients.
Also charged with criminal conspiracy were Ahed Hbaiu, age 32, of Etters in York County, Pennsylvania, Gil Conrad Dizon, age 28, of Los Angeles, and Christopher Mouzon, age 27, of Los Angeles. In July 2015, Mouzon was sentenced by Judge Rambo in Harrisburg to six months in prison and four months home confinement for testifying falsely before the grand jury. Ahed Hbaiu reportedly left the country and Dizon is purportedly in the Philippines. Warrants have been issued for their arrest.
Hbaiu was charged with conspiring to avoid the requirement that banks report cash transactions of $10,000 or more by “structuring” deposits made into various bank accounts. Hbaiu made cash deposits of less than $10,000 in accounts of family members and associates and then transferred the money to accounts controlled by him. Some of the funds “structured” in this fashion were used to pay off the mortgage on a residence at 1806 Meadow Ridge Drive, Hummelstown, which was eventually titled to Alex Hbaiu. Other structured funds were used to fund the business operations of Caliber Investments, 1 Stop Sunoco Gas Station and Eclipse Builders, all located in Etters, York County.
“U.S. consumers rely on FDA oversight to ensure that dietary supplements contain only those ingredients that are disclosed on the label, and certainly to not contain the active ingredients in prescription drugs. When individuals manufacture and distribute supplements with undeclared and potentially dangerous ingredients, they place the health of consumers at serious risk,” said Glen A. McElravy, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to direct our resources to bringing to justice those who threaten the public health.”
“The structuring and concealment of monies derived from illegal activities is what enables criminal conduct such as the distribution of misbranded drugs to flourish,” said Internal Revenue Service, Special Agent in Charge Akeia Conner. “The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation is committed to enforcing the laws that insure individuals do not use our financial institutions to conceal the proceeds of their crimes.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, The Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy H. Fawcett.