A federal court in Texas sentenced a former dietary supplement company executive to prison for his role in fraudulently selling popular workout supplements, the Justice Department said Friday.
On Feb. 19, U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay sentenced former S.K. Laboratories Vice President Sitesh Patel, 37, of Irvine, California, to 41 months’ imprisonment and one year of supervised release. The court previously ordered Patel’s former company, S.K. Laboratories, to forfeit $6 million in connection with the case.
According to documents filed in the case, Patel played a key role in developing and manufacturing the popular workout and weight loss supplements known as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, which were distributed by Dallas-based USPlabs. In pleading guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce, Patel and several of his co-defendants admitted that they imported substances with false and misleading labeling to avoid law enforcement and regulatory agency attention. Patel also pleaded guilty to introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce. The misbranding charges relate in part to OxyElite Pro, which was recalled in 2013 in the wake of an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into whether the supplement caused liver injuries in consumers. An indictment returned by a Dallas federal grand jury in 2015 against Patel and four other individuals associated with USPlabs alleged that the defendants sold some of their products without determining whether they would be safe to use.
“Consumers should not have to question whether the dietary supplements they find on store shelves will cause them physical harm,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “This case demonstrates the department’s commitment to working with our agency partners to prosecute individuals and companies that defraud the public and place consumers at risk.”
“FDA regulation of the manufacturing and distribution of dietary supplements helps ensure the safety of American consumers. Illegal schemes to subvert FDA’s oversight and trick the public into buying a product that does not meet FDA standards create a serious threat to public health,” said Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and bring to justice those who put profits ahead of the health of U.S. consumers.”
The court previously sentenced Jacobo Geissler, 44, of University Park, Texas, the CEO of USPlabs, to 60 months’ imprisonment, and Jonathan Doyle, 41, of Dallas, the president of USPlabs, to 24 months’ imprisonment for their roles in the fraud. The court also sentenced defendants Cyril Willson, 40, of Ralston, Nebraska, a former consultant for USPlabs, and Matthew Hebert, 42, of Dallas, a co-owner of the company, to 18 months and 15 months’ imprisonment, respectively. In addition, USPlabs was ordered to pay $4.7 million in criminal forfeiture.