PROVIDENCE, R.I. – James Feijo, 68, owner and operator of Daniel Chapter One, a Portsmouth, R.I., based company, was sentenced yesterday to 6 months in federal prison to be followed by 6 months home confinement for marketing and selling products not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and failing to pay more than $218,000 in employment taxes due the IRS, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, George M. Karavetsos, Director, FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and Kristina O’Connell, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., also ordered Feijo to serve 3 years supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $218,408.04 owed to the IRS. Feijo pleaded guilty on September 11, 2015, to introduction of a new unapproved drug and tax evasion.
“People facing difficult, even life-threatening, health challenges are often susceptible to the kinds of deceptive schemes cooked up by the defendant here,” said United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “Whether in this context or in others, those who prey on the hopes and fears of the most vulnerable deserve the full attention of law enforcement. A stretch in federal prison is more than appropriate for this defendant. The people who relied on his greed-motivated, baseless claims of ‘cure’ deserved much better.”
“The FDA’s drug approval process ensures that patients receive safe and effective medications,” said George M. Karavetsos, Director, FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations. “When criminals evade the FDA process and sell their non-FDA approved products to our most vulnerable consumers, we will take action to protect the public’s health.”
At the time of his guilty plea, Feijo admitted to the court that he engaged in the marketing, sale and distribution of unapproved cancer treatment health products and supplements which were not generally recognized as safe and effective for use by the FDA. Additionally, the products, as marketed, were not generally recognized as safe and effective by qualified experts for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of cancer. The products were marketed and sold through various websites, in-store advertisements, a call center, on Feijos’ daily radio program, and through the use of promotional materials and publications.
In addition, at the time of his guilty plea, Feijo admitted to the court that from 2006 through 2011, he falsely represented to Daniel Chapter One employees that they were independent contractors, when in truth they were employees of Daniel Chapter One. During that time, Feijo failed to issue IRS Wage and Tax Statements accounting for employees’ wages and taxes withheld. Feijo admitted that Daniel Chapter One employees were paid by checks written out to cash, and that for at least sixteen quarters he failed to collect, account for and pay over employment taxes due the IRS totaling $218,408.04.
“Business owners like Mr. Feijo have an important responsibility to collect and turn over all withholding taxes,” said Kristina O’Connell, IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge. “Those who fail to do so gain a competitive advantage which will not be tolerated. Employment tax fraud also impacts employees, who may see future benefits such as Social Security reduced because their employer did not comply with the law."
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly.
The matter was investigated by the Rhode Island FDA Task Force and IRS Criminal Investigation.