Barry Steinlight, owner of the dietary supplement maker Raw Deal Inc., was sentenced Wednesday to 40 months in federal prison, to be followed by 12 months of supervised release. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas for the District of New Jersey after Steinlight plead guilty to a single count of wire fraud. The government says he was involved in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements. He was also ordered to forfeit $1 million from his fraudulent enterprise to the federal government.“The Justice Department has increased its attention on supplement sellers like Barry Steinlight who sell products that are not what they claim to be,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will investigate and prosecute companies and individuals that sell supplements that threaten the health of the American public and drain their bank accounts with misrepresented products.” In pleading guilty, Steinlight admitted that from at least 2009 through November 2013, he instructed Raw Deal employees to add “fillers,” including maltodextrin, viobin cocoa replacer and rice flours, to the dietary ingredients and supplements sold to customers.  These “fillers” were added without customer consent or knowledge. Steinlight also directed Raw Deal employees not to list the “fillers” as ingredients on certificates of analysis issued to its customers as proof of the identity of the ingredients contained in the products. During his plea hearing, Steinlight admitted that Raw Deal Inc.’s gross profits while the scheme was going on were between $7 and $20 million. A day earlier, Catherine Palmer, Raw Deal’s executive vice president, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an agency investigation. The obstruction charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 21. According to court documents, Palmer lied to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators and ordered a subordinate to falsify a dietary supplement product’s ingredient list before submitting it to FDA. In addition, she admitted instructing a Raw Deal employee not to run blenders during a 2012 inspection so that FDA would not see “fillers” being added to customer orders. This practice hid from FDA the fact that Steinlight and Raw Deal diluted the products before sale to unsuspecting customers. Court documents also revealed that Steinlight directed Raw Deal employees to create certificates of authenticity that falsely claimed that certain Raw Deal products were kosher or organic. “Consumers expect labels that accurately describe the products they ingest,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey. “Steinlight deceived his customers as part of a four-year scheme in which he delivered bogus, mislabeled products. Today he was appropriately punished for his crime.”

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