HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five people have pleaded guilty in connection with a multi-million dollar scheme to sell a diet supplement with a banned substance linked to liver failure.
Oxyelite Pro was blamed for making dozens of Hawaii residents sick. A number of people also got sick on the mainland.
Three Hawaii residents who took the diet pill subsequently died of liver failure.
USP labs, SK Laboratories, and five people admitted to importing a banned ingredient into the United States from China, then mislabeling it on the packaging of OxyElite Pro.
Those who pleaded guilty were: Cyril Willson, Matthew Hebert, Jonathan Doyle (president of USPlabs), Sitesh Patel (vice president of S.K. Laboratories) and Jacobo Geissler (CEO of USPlabs).
The defendants face three to five years in prison, and will pay a total of $60 million in fines.
“Americans who choose to take dietary supplements expect that those products are safe and properly labeled,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
“Dietary supplement labeling that falsely or misleadingly declares its contents presents a risk to the public, and the FDA will exercise its full authority under the law to bring to justice all those who produce and distribute misbranded dietary supplements.”