April 21, 2010
SANTA ANA, Calif.The U.S. Attorneys Office, Central District of California, announced it filed criminal charges against the marketers of all-natural sexual enhancement products that were, in fact, misbranded pharmaceuticals. The casejointly investigated by FDA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcementcharges Phu Tan Luong, also known as Peter Luong, and his daughter, Helene Ngoc Bich Luong, used the company Vitapro to deliver into interstate commerce misbranded drugs, Vitalex for men and Vitalex for women. Marketed as herbal sexual enhancement supplements, the products actually contained an unregulated drug, an analog of acetildenafil, similar to the active pharmaceutical in several erectile dysfunction drugs.
Phu Tan Luong is currently serving a 10-year federal prison sentence, after he was convicted in 2005 of 35 counts of health care fraud and five counts of money laundering related to a medical supply company, United Medical Supply, that submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare. According to the indictment, money from that operation helped Phu Tan Long start Vitapro, which he ran with the help of his daughter after he started his prison sentence in late 2006.
The FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations is fully committed to investigating and supporting the prosecution of those who may endanger the publics health and safety by manufacturing and selling unsafe products to be used on an unsuspecting public, said Thomas Emerick, special agent in charge, FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Los Angeles Field Office.
The Luongs are each charged with one count of delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of a misbranded drug, a misdemeanor offense that carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison. Helene Luong is believed to be in Canada. Phu Tan Luong, who is currently in a federal prison facility in Pecos, Texas, is expected to be returned to Southern California for an arraignment on June 7.
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