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Pair Sentenced for Conspiring to Defraud the Food and Drug Administration

OCI BadgeDepartment of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Harrisonburg, Va. – A pair of former business partners who operated multiple websites selling drugs and other products to the bodybuilding community, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on federal conspiracy charges. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office, made the announcement today.

“Manufacturers and distributors of nutritional supplements must ensure that that their products do not contain FDA-restricted substances, and they must accurately label those products,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “We will continue to work closely with the FDA to investigate and prosecute individuals and entities who unlawfully market and dispense products that are essentially prescription drugs.”  

“U.S. consumers should be able to trust that the dietary supplements they buy do not contain dangerous drug ingredients. When criminals disguise potent drugs as dietary supplements, they place consumers at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who peddle these dangerous products.”

Today in federal court, Spencer Gill, 31, of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. and Anthony Novak, 46, of Anaheim, Calif., were each sentenced to one-year of probation. In addition, the defendants were ordered to forfeit $130,000. Gill and Spencer both previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to court documents, between March 2013 and April 2018, Gill and Novak conspired to operate multiple business entities and websites selling drugs and other products to the bodybuilding community as part of a scheme to defraud the FDA. Some of these drugs contained ingredients that were not approved by the FDA for human use and were to be dispensed only under the supervision of a practitioner licensed by law to administer them, meaning they were prescription drugs.

Gill and Novak caused many of the drugs they sold to be labeled “for research purposes only.” The defendants caused similar disclaimers to be posted on various websites with the knowledge such representations were false and fraudulent. Gill and Novak admitted to marketing and selling the drugs to customers who intended to, and did, consume the drugs and only claimed the drugs were for “research purposes only” to avoid regulatory oversight by the FDA.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Jeb Terrien prosecuted the case for the United States.
 
Component(s):
USAO - Virginia, Western