NEWARK, NJ – A Utah man today admitted to illegally selling erectile dysfunction pills that he falsely marketed as herbal supplements for men, Acting Prosecutor Rachael A. Honig announced.
Robert Zeng, 55, of Salt Lake City, Utah, pleaded guilty by video conference before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to a brief accusing him of bringing a mislabelled drug into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead consumers.
According to the documents filed in this case and the statements made in court:
Zeng was the owner of various companies, including NutopiaUSA, which sold purported natural supplements online and through e-commerce websites. On February 29, 2020, Zeng imported three kilograms of sildenafil, an active ingredient in the brand name prescription drug Viagra, which is approved by the FDA for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Zeng used sildenafil to make an unapproved and mislabeled drug called “Mr. Richard Rocks.”
Zeng falsely marketed and labeled Mr. Richard Rocks as a dietary supplement containing only natural ingredients that treat erectile dysfunction, improve sexual performance, improve mood, and lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Mr. Richard Rocks’ labeling did not disclose the presence of sildenafil, did not reveal the potentially harmful health consequences that could result from the use of a product containing sildenafil, or provide adequate directions for use. Zeng sold Mr. Richard Rocks on the Nutopia website and on e-commerce platforms to consumers across the United States, including New Jersey, without a prescription.
The trademark fault charge to which Zeng pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000, or double the gross pecuniary gain or loss, depending on the amount. The highest. Sentencing is scheduled for August 26, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited the FBI Special Agents, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and Special Agents in the New York Bureau of the FDA Criminal Investigations Bureau. , under the direction of the special agent. in charge of Jeffrey J. Ebersole, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. She also thanked the Office of the United States Attorney, District of Utah, under the direction of Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez, and the FBI-Utah, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Dennis W. Rice at Salt Lake City, Utah.
This case originally stems from the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force led by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, which coordinates efforts with the Antitrust Division and US prosecutors across the country. wherever illegal activity involving personal protective equipment occurs.
The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Fayer of the Economic Crimes Unit of the US Attorney’s Office.
Hidden active pharmaceutical ingredients have been identified in products promoted not only for sexual enhancement, but also for weight loss, bodybuilding, and pain relief. The FDA has issued hundreds of public warnings and recall announcements regarding these types of fraudulent products. The FDA’s Contaminated Products Database can help consumers identify some of these potentially harmful products. Even if a product is not included in the list, consumers should be careful when using these products.