American Justice Notebook

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Owner of Diet Supplement Business Sentenced to Prison for Misbranding Drugs


courtroom_02A federal judge sentenced Cheryl Floyd, age 52, owner of Floyd Nutrition LLC, to 30 months in federal prison for selling misbranded drugs as weight loss products over the Internet, officials said today.

District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo also ordered Floyd, of Harrisburg, to pay $10,000 in fines and $7,530 in restitution.

Special Agent in Charge Akeia Conner of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation said:  “Today’s sentence, along with the seizure of over $1,000,000 in assets, sends a clear message to those considering similar conduct.  The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation stands committed to providing the financial expertise in these investigations and uncovering the flow of money which is the lifeblood of any drug enterprise.”

Floyd pleaded guilty in May. As part of a plea agreement, Floyd agreed to forfeit five properties in Harrisburg owned by her along with a 2014 Chevy truck and nine bank accounts, authorities said.

Three of the properties forfeited thus far have netted $1,016,943.  Floyd is to surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 16.

According to the evidence, Floyd, also known as Cheryl Floyd Brown, was the owner and operator of an internet-based business known as Floyd Nutrition, based at her Harrisburg residence and with warehouse facilities in the Harrisburg area.

The items offered for sale between 2010 and 2014 were purported all-natural dietary supplements sold as weight loss products.  They contained the drugs sibutramine and phenolphphthalein which are not listed as ingredients in the product labels.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA, sibutramine was the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Meridia, a prescription weight loss drug removed from the market in 2010 following studies that showed increased instances of heart attack and stroke in the studied population.

Phenolphphthalein was an over-the-county drug until 1999, when the FDA reclassified it as not generally safe because it posed a carcinogenic risk, according to the evidence.

As a result of the health risks, officials said the FDA detained shipments of the products coming from China intended for Floyd’s business.

In July 2014, search warrants executed at locations used by Floyd’s business resulted in seizure of a large quantity of the products, officials said.

The products were sold over the internet by Floyd under names such as Slim Trim U, ZXT Slim Bee Pollen, Magic Slim, ZXT Bee Pollen, ZXT Gold Infinity, Lean Body Extreme, Bnew Beauty and Body and Natural Body Solutions, according to authorities.

“Manufacturing and selling products marketed as ‘all-natural’ dietary supplements put U.S. consumers at risk of serious injury or death when they actually contain dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients,” said Director George M. Karavetsos of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations.  “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to protect consumers from public health risks and fraud.”