CHARLOTTE, N.C.A businessman who sold male enhancement and erectile dysfunction drugs that masqueraded as "100% safe and natural" could be sentenced to up to two decades behind bars after pleading guilty Thursday to defrauding consumers, a federal prosecutor said.
Kamran Rezapour, the owner of Nutrition for Health, Inc. and Mojo Risen, LLC, admitted that from 2009 through April 2013 he defrauded consumers of nearly $5 million through false claims that his products were "100% safe and natural", Anne Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, said in a press release.
The prosecutor said the 52-year-old Rezapour acknowledged that his products contained ingredients similar to prescription drugs like Viagra. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and two counts of drug misbranding.
On the wire fraud charge alone, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of misbranding drugs carries a maximum penalty of three years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.
Tompkins said the defendant has agreed to pay full restitution for any losses that stemmed from his criminal enterprise. As part of his plea agreement, Rezapour has agreed to forfeit the roughly $1.5 million in funds, and gold and silver coins that law enforcement agents seized during the investigation, the prosecutor said.
In June 2013, FDA advised consumers to discontinue use of "Mojo Risen", disclosing that the product contained a substance that is similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. Rezapour is said to have advertised Mojo Risen and other erectile dysfunction pills as all natural" herbal supplements.
Rezapours customers bought his mislabeled drugs as safe alternatives to prescription medications," Tompkins said in a statement. Whats particularly troubling is that Rezapour knew his products contained certain ingredients that could cause serious health consequences, yet he marketed and sold his supplements without appropriate warning labels. My office and our federal partners will prosecute those who profit from the reckless sale of misbranded drugs to unsuspecting consumers."