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Federal Judge in Georgia Sanctions Company over $ 40M due to Deceptive Advertising of Diet Supplements

pills-for-blog-may-31-2015.jpgIn Atlanta, Georgia, a federal judge, U.S. District Senior Judge Charles Pannell, Jr., ordered a Norcross company, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, that sells dietary supplements, over $ 40M in sanctions for violating a six (6) year old order barring the company from making deceptive claims about several diet supplements' effectiveness.

The Judge further ordered an immediate recall of supplements that the company has since marketed as weight loss or male enhancement products, and has further threatened to put the CEO, Jared Wheat, and Senior Vice President, Sean Smith, in jail if they fail to comply with the Judge's order.

You may have heard of the supplements at issue which are: Fastin which is related chemically and pharmacologically to amphetamines and can lead to psychosis; Lipodrene which can cause nausea, dehydration, constipation, sleep complications, and cardiovascular issues, especially of the heart; Benzedrine which is really amphetamine sulfate and a stimulant and drug with the same or similar characteristics as the drug amphetamine; and Stimerex-ES which contains a long list of stimulants as ingredients that raise heart rate and blood pressure and are dangerous and unsuitable for many people.

This is not the first battle with the Federal Court for Wheat and Smith as they were ordered to pay $15.8M in regulatory fines for dispensed dissection back in 2008 which they have yet to fully pay. Furthermore, the Judge permanently barred Wheat from continuing to rely on these unsubstantiated representations to sell the expensive supplements. The contempt actions came at the request of the urging of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and Atlanta, Georgia Federal Prosecutors in an effort to stop Wheat's diet supplement business.

The $40M which the Judge said in his order are gross revenues from the sale of the supplements for a specified period of time and are intended to pay consumers back who purchased the products and may have been induced to do so from the deceptive advertising. Fortunately, unlike in other scandals of this type that I have written about in my blog on the dangers of Energy Drinks, no deaths have been reported to date from taking these drugs.

What is interesting in this case is that back in 2003, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Vining Jr. granted a request by the FDA to bar Wheat and his companies from marketing or selling more than a dozen supplements. At that time, a criminal probe of Hi-Tech, Wheat's company, drug sales was launched which led, in 2009, to Wheat and several others pleading guilty to federal charges whereby Wheat spent 18 months in Federal Prison.

It was in prison where Wheat implemented Hi-Tech's national marketing campaign in popular newspapers and magazines including, but not limited to, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Women's Day, Redbook, and The National Inquirer. This makes it evident that Wheat had no intention of stopping his deceptive marketing ways.

If you or a loved one has taken any of the drugs listed herein, then you may be entitled to compensation so please Contact Us today for your free consultation so that you get the just compensation that you deserve.

We are committed to the fight against illegal, and deceptive, advertising practices, and not only may you be entitled to compensation if you were induced into buying any of these drugs by deceptive advertising practices, your actions may cause others from being caught in the same trap. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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