http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/politics/feds-take-on-40-billion-snake-oil-supplement-industry/article/449754

Over 100 supplement companies indicted over an array of charges

Posted Nov 18, 2015 by Karen Graham
Led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), seven federal agencies on Tuesday announced at a press conference that joint civil and criminal actions against more than 100 makers and marketers of potentially dangerous dietary supplements have been unsealed.
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Sarah Korf
Digital Journal has been closely following the dietary supplement industry and the Food and Drug Administration's efforts to bring the industry under compliance with regulatory guidelines.
Among the top companies named in the indictments unsealed on Tuesday, November 17, was top selling supplement manufacturer USPlabs LLC. The Dallas, Texas-based company is well known for Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, muscle and weight loss supplements, according to Food Safety News.
Anaheim, California-based S.K. Laboratories, which specializes in sports nutrition products, dietary supplements and other natural herbal products was handed down 11 indictments.
Benjamin C. Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general, said, “As alleged in the indictment unsealed today, the defendants were on a perpetual search for the next miracle ingredient. That search generally focused on Chinese chemical manufacturers.”
Mizer claims the company would find what they thought was a "promising ingredient," then change the labeling, packaging and any other paperwork involved to defraud the public. “Much of the alleged fraud focused on the defendant’s claims that their products were made from natural plant extracts," Mizer said at the press conference on Tuesday.
The Daily Beast is reporting that based on statistics from the National Institutes of Health, most Americans take a dietary supplement every day or at least, occasionally. Because the FDA does not approve these supplements, they are unregulated. This leaves these companies plenty of room to hide potent amounts of untested synthetic ingredients within their products.
Tuesday's announcement has generated federal court cases in 18 states and has led to criminal and civil litigation against at least 117 individuals and entities. Besides the DOJ, the agencies involved in this "sweep," as it is called, include U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Besides USPlabs, three individuals, Jacobo Geissler, 39, of University Park, TX, the CEO of USPlabs; Jonathan Doyle, 37, of Dallas, the president of USPlabs; and Matthew Hebert, 37, of Dallas, responsible for product packaging design at USPlabs, have also been charged with obstruction of a FDA proceeding, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Assets from dozens of investment accounts, properties in Texas, and a number of luxury and sports cars were also seized by FDA and IRS agents, according to the DOJ. It is alleged that USPLabs imported ingredients from China using false certification papers, and false labeling, but the lab told their customers their products were made from "natural ingredients." Instead, they were synthetic stimulants manufactured in China.
GNC also in trouble
Last month, GNC, one of largest supplement-makers in the nation, was named in a lawsuit brought by Oregon’s Attorney, General Ellen Rosenblum. The lawsuit alleges GNC “knowingly sold products spiked with two synthetic drugs.” GNC responded by saying the company was committed to providing customers with the “highest quality supplements” using the “purest ingredients.”
Reilly Dolan, Acting Deputy Director for the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, says that while a few supplements that make up the $40 billion supplement industry actually do work, most of them are “nothing more than 21st century snake oil.”