Five individuals and two companies pleaded guilty to felony charges in connection to the sale of OxyElite Pro, a dietary supplement that caused liver injuries. USPLabs and its officers were first indicted in 2015 for various violations of federal laws in connection with the sales of USPLabs’ DMAA products (Jack3d and OxyElite Pro) and aegeline products (OxyElite Pro New Formula, Advanced Formula and Powder).
Andrews & Thornton first began representing the victims of USPLabs in 2012 and began filing cases in early 2013. Since then, the defendants have spent millions of dollars trying to evade responsibility for their dangerous products.
The defendants tried to stall facing their victims in court by filing a number of procedural motions. Multiple times, defendants tried removing the cases filed in California to federal court and each time A&T successfully fought to keep the cases in state court. They tried to consolidate all filed cases into one federal court as a multi-district litigation but A&T successfully argued against their motions.
After that tactic failed, Defendants then began to disregard its discovery obligations. They attempted to delay and hide important documents from A&T. A&T in response filed numerous motions asking the Court to intervene. Our office spent hundreds of hours briefing and filing motions to obtain discovery. As a result, the 10,000 documents initially produced by the Defendants ballooned to over half a million documents. In addition to obtaining these documents, A&T was successful in getting the court to sanction and publicly admonish counsel for defendants for their discovery abuses.
At the same time, A&T worked with our clients to ready cases for trial. A&T spent many hours reviewing medical records, serving discovery responses, and taking video depositions of the Defendants’ officers and owners.
Then, on November 18, 2015, a grand jury unsealed an indictment brought against the USP entities and certain executives (including the CEO Jacob Geissler and President Jonathan Doyle), and an executive for the manufacturer, S.K. Laboratories. The Indictment brought 11 charges against the defendants, including the sale of misbranded and adulterated supplements and money laundering. Judges in California and Hawaii the stayed civil cases against the Defendants, meaning the court cases were paused as the criminal case concluded.
Although the civil cases were stayed, our work continued. Continuing on the thousands of hours of work A&T did in the civil trial by taking depositions and compelling documents, the federal government built a strong criminal case. For example, the government’s expert relied heavily on A&T’s work. The judge in the criminal case ruled this expert would be permitted to testify at trial that, among other things, OxyElite Pro aegeline caused the outbreak of hepatitis in 2013.
The Defendants misled the public, the FDA, and the courts about the safety of their products. They have spent tens of millions of dollars fighting A&T and the federal government for 7 years. Even if the Defendants managed to prevail in their criminal trial, they would need to continue fighting the hundreds of civil lawsuits A&T filed on behalf of its clients. A&T helped back the Defendants into a corner and, with no way out, the Defendants have finally pled guilty to their crimes.
On behalf of our clients, Andrews & Thornton is pleased to see justice has been served.
The list of guilty pleas are as follows:
- USPLabs President Jonathan Doyle pleaded guilty to conspiracy to introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce
- USPLabs CEO Jacobo Geissler pleaded guilty to conspiracy to introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce
- Matthew Hebert, a co-owner of USPLabs pleaded guilty to introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead
- Cyril Willson, a consultant for USPLabs, pleaded guilty to introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead
- Sitesh Patel, the vice president of S.K. Laboratories, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce and to the introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce
- S.K. Laboratories pleaded guilty to introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce
- USPLabs pleaded guilty to conspiracy to introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce
The defendants have agreed to pay criminal fines and forfeitures totaling about $60 million. The individuals face a range of three to six years of imprisonment. Sentencing is set to begin in July 2019.
For more information about the trial, visit the United States Department of Justice’s website: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/five-individuals-and-two-companies-plead-guilty-felony-charges-multimillion-dollar-scheme