Feds Raid Berkeley NutraceuticalsFeds Raid Berkeley Nutraceuticals
March 28, 2005
Feds Raid Berkeley Nutraceuticals
Federal and localauthorities raided three locations of Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals on March16, seizing information in relation to alleged consumer fraud. Headed up by theU.S. Postal Inspection Service, other agencies involved in the raid included theFood and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and local law enforcement authorities.Approximately 50 officers, empowered with sealed search warrants from a federaljudge from the Southern District of Ohio, seized material as part of a possiblecriminal investigation.
Lisa Fitzpatrick, a postal inspector with the Cincinnati FieldOffice of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said the purpose of the search wasto acquire information for review. No criminal charges have been filed, butwe are taking action in response to numerous customer complaints, Fitzpatrick told INSIDER.
Berkeley has been on the radar of government agencies andconsumer groups for quite a while. In mid-October 2004, FDA sent a warningletter to the firm regarding its promotion for dietary supplements includingRovicid, Rogisen and Enzyte, alleging product label claims position the productsas unapproved new drugs, and that the products are misbranded as they do notmeet label claims of ingredient contents.
And in September 2004, the Center for Science in the PublicInterest (CSPI) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),citing false advertising claims for Enzyte, a sexual-enhancement product. Inaddition, Berkeley is facing class-action suits in both Ohio and California,which were filed in March 2004, as well as additional consumer lawsuitstargeting both the products as well as the companys billing practices, whichreportedly enrolled customers in automatic renewals for products and billed forfree products.
Calls to Berkeleys customer call center were met with amessage, Due to circumstances beyond our control, our customer call centerhas had to immediately close. A Berkeley representative returned calls from INSIDER,but supplied no further comment on the situation.
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