In an extremely rare development from the supplement world, the federal authorities on Wednesday billed six people and two Florida corporations in a gigantic, multi-million dollar scheme to distribute illegal dietary supplements.
“Fraud by supplement manufacturers and distributors is very dangerous for consumers, who rightly assume a dietary supplement merchandise offered in stores or online will not contain unapproved drugs,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “These products aren’t secure and that is why we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who import, produce, and distribute illegal and dangerous components for fraudulent purposes.”
In many ways, this movement doesn’t come as surprise. In December 2015, Guys ’s Journal sent me to Florida to compose a narrative about a Blackstone Labs. Before that year, the company was delivered a letter by the FDA. It said that FDA officials found a product known as”Angel Dust,” being marketed by Blackstone Labs, contained Dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a government-controlled stimulant known to increase blood pressure. It was being marketed as a pre-workout dietary supplement, made to”increase mental focus, muscle performance, endurance, and blood flow,” based on labeling on the item.
The letter read:”Struggling to immediately cease distribution of your goods and any other merchandise you market that contain DMBA could lead to enforcement action by FDA without further notice.”
I did a little research on additional Blackstone products and discovered that one contained SARMs, medications that were being analyzed to treat osteoporosis but had also been proven to increase muscle density and strength in healthy people. Earlier this season, the FDA had sent a warning letter into a different supplements company telling them to quit promoting SARMs, since they had been an unapproved drug heading through clinical trials and therefore prohibited to market.
Much to my surprise, they consented to the interview.
For three hours, then I toured the Blackstone facilities with both hulking men (both former Trainers ), and also peppered them with questions.
Q: How much cash does Blackstone make?
A:“$20 million each year.”
Q: Why market SARMs?
A:“If you look at the true literature, then it is all positive,” Singerman said. “I have used it a lot of times, and I enjoy putting out products which I actually use.”
Q: What about possible side impacts?
A:“I am a libertarian,” Singerman told me. “I feel that it’s the person’s decision. Provided that they’re an adult”
I also learned that afternoon that Blackstone had partnered with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, a nutritional supplement company owned by Jared Wheat. Wheat was known for promoting prohibited nutritional supplements that contained banned chemicals, such as ephedra. In early 2006 government officials raided his offices and captured 200 instances of supplements valued at $2 million, and at 2008 Wheat pleaded guilty to promoting adulterated nutritional supplements and committing mail and wire fraud. He was sentenced to 50 months in jail, however he continued to operate Hi-Tech out of his cell. He was operating with Singerman and Braun.
Men’s Journal printed my story in March 2017 (which arrived in early February), and a couple of weeks after, government officials raided Blackstone Labs, reportedly seizing computers and product.
But Blackstone, apparently, continued to thrive, releasing fresh supplements. That is until yesterdaywhen Braun and Singerman, and six other men, were charged into a 14-count indictment, alleging that”that the defendants sold hundreds of thousands of illegal goods, such as anabolic steroids, nationally and internationally, fraudulently representing those pills and products were high-quality, legal dietary supplements. According to the indictment, the defendants created an illegal manufacturing business and routed sales of illegal products through reputable distributors, knowing that the products were unsafe or couldn’t be marketed to customers.”
“Consumers who use dietary supplements anticipate those products to be safe. When they contain medications that aren’t sterile, the health of the public is put at risk,” explained Catherine A. Hermsen, Acting Director, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice individuals who place customers’ health in jeopardy.”
The article Notorious Supplement Maker Can Be Busted In Multi-Million Dollar Fraud appeared first on Men's Journal.