Ohio Man Who Sold Synthetic Urine on the Internet Sentenced to Probation with Home Detention
PITTSBURGH—An Ohio resident has been sentenced in federal court to five years’ probation with six months’ home detention and ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 on his conviction of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on David Neal, 62, of Middletown, Ohio.
According to information presented to the court, Neal is the owner ACS Herbal Tea Company, a national Internet business located in Middletown, Ohio. Neal, using ACS Herbal Tea Company and the Internet websites www.123zip.com and www.passthetest.com, conspired to defraud the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services by obstructing and interfering with the lawful governmental functions of SAMHSA in overseeing, monitoring and establishing scientific and technical guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs, and standards for certification of laboratories engaged in urine drug testing for federal agencies and federally-regulated industries, under the Federal Agency Drug-Free Work Place Program. For the past eight years, through the Internet websites www.123zip.com and www.passthetest.com, Neal sold, in interstate commerce, products such as the “Magnum Unisex Synthetic Urine-Never Fail a Urine Drug Test” and “Urine Luck” to customers who intended to use the products for the purpose of defeating federal, and federally regulated, employment drug urine tests overseen by SAMHSA. Additionally, some of the products sold through Neal’s websites were drugs, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration, but did not bear appropriate labeling.
“Federally mandated drug testing of transportation workers is in place to ensure public safety; criminals who enrich themselves by distributing products designed to circumvent and defeat such testing endanger those who rely on transportation workers for safe passage; they also risk the health of the workers who take a product of unknown safety and efficacy,” said Antoinette V. Henry, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health by bringing to justice criminals who distribute products that are designed only to defeat consumer safety.”
Judge Conti stated that the seriousness of the offense, when considering the public safety concerns implicated, supported the imposition of a guideline sentence.
Assistant United States Attorney Tonya Sulia Goodman prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Neal.