An Ashe County man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to defrauding consumers of nearly $5 million by misbranding erectile dysfunction drugs and selling them as “all natural supplements.”
Kamran Rezapour, 52, of Creston, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler to one count of wire fraud and two counts of drug misbranding.
At Thursday’s plea hearing, Rezapour admitted that from 2009 through April 2013, he defrauded consumers of nearly $5 million by fraudulently and falsely claiming that his erectile dysfunction products were “100 percent safe and natural,” prosecutors said.
Rezapour also admitted that his products contained ingredients similar to prescription drugs such as Viagra, which require FDA approval to market and distribute, according to prosecutors.
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Rezapour was the owner and operator of Nutrition for Health Inc., and Mojo Risen LLC, according to court documents. Through those companies Rezapour sold dietary supplements, male enhancement drugs and erectile dysfunction drugs, including Mojo Risen, Mojo Sensation and VajiVedic.
Court records indicate that Rezapour advertised Mojo Risen and other erectile dysfunction pills as nonprescription, “all natural” herbal supplements. As part of his plea, Rezapour admitted that in order to induce customers to purchase his Mojo Risen, he made multiple and false claims that the sexual enhancement products were “100 percent safe and natural” and without “harsh and dangerous side effects.”
Rezapour admitted in court Thursday that those claims were false, prosecutors said. Court documents indicate that Mojo Rissen, Mojo Sensation and VajiVedic contained pharmaceutical and prescription compounds, including sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, and its chemical analogue noracetildenafil, which Rezapour smuggled into the U.S. from China.
Rezapour did not list sildenafil, noracetildenafil or any other prescription ingredient in the packaging and advertising material for the supplements and did not provide any warnings about the possible side effects of sildenafil and noracetildenafil, authorities said.
Those products also did not bear the symbol “Rx only” on their labels, as is required for all prescription drugs, according to court documents.
According to court records, Rezapour and his Chinese supplier evaded detection of the pharmaceutical and prescription compounds by U.S. Customs authorities and the FDA by falsely labeling the packages as “paint products,” “care product (s)” and “gift (s),” prosecutors alleged.
Rezapour distributed the products nationwide, including to customers in Charlotte, and received about $4,944,939 in payments for the fraud scheme, authorities said.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement agents seized about $1.5 million in funds, and gold and silver coins in connection with the fraud. Authorities said Rezapour has agreed to forfeit all these assets as part of his plea agreement.
Rezapour faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine for the wire fraud charge and a maximum prison term of three years and a $250,000 fine for each count of misbranding drugs.