Washington, Feb 20: A 37-year-old Indian-origin former executive has been sentenced to 41 months in prison in the US for his role in fraudulently selling popular workout supplements by concealing their true ingredients.
Sitesh Patel, the former vice-president of S K Laboratories, was sentenced on Friday by a federal court in Texas, announced Acting US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah and Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton of the Department of Justice's Civil Division.
According to documents filed in the case, Patel of Irvine, California, played a key role in developing and manufacturing the popular workout and weight loss supplements known as Jack3d and Oxy Elite Pro, which were distributed by Dallas-based US Plabs.
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 labelling to avoid law enforcement and regulatory agency attention.
US District Judge Sam A Lindsay sentenced Patel to 41 months' imprisonment and one year of supervised release. The court previously ordered Patel's former company, S K Laboratories, to forfeit USD 6 million in connection with the case.
Patel also pleaded guilty to the introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce, the US Justice Department said in a statement.
The misbranding charges relate in part to Oxy Elite Pro, which was recalled in 2013 in the wake of an investigation by the US 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 US Plabs alleged that the defendants sold some of their products without determining whether they would be safe to use.
Dietary supplement manufacturers must not be allowed to mislead the public about untested ingredients mixed into their products, said Acting US Attorney Prerak Shah.
We are proud to hold this defendant accountable for lying to the public about ingredients that had the potential to cause them harm," Shah said.
The defendant knowingly profited by deceiving American consumers, causing harm to them by concealing the true ingredients of a product intended to improve the very health it damaged, said Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Pearson of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Dallas Field Office.
The court previously sentenced Jacobo Geissler, 44, of University Park, Texas, the CEO of US Plabs, to 60 months' imprisonment, and Jonathan Doyle, 41, of Dallas, the president of US Plabs, to 24 months' imprisonment for their roles in the fraud.