LOS ANGELES – A Diamond Bar man who illegally imported the active ingredients used in erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis and repackaged the drugs for sale as herbal sexual enhancement products was sentenced today to three months in federal prison followed by six months of home detention.
Joseph Jinn, also known as Tzong Hwan Jinn, 60, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Christina A. Synder for conspiring to bring the drugs into the United States by means of false statements. Judge Snyder agreed with the government that a custodial sentence was warranted because of the problem posed by the importation of the pharmaceuticals from China, which defendant brought into the U.S. marketplace undetected and unregulated.
According to court documents, Jinn admitted being part of a scheme that imported Tadalafil, Sildenafil and Dapoxetine – the active ingredients in pharmaceutical medications such as Viagra and Cialis – by means of false claims to customs officials that the multi-kilogram shipments were “cooked powder and tools,” “Chinese bread baking mixture,” and other innocuous materials. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted some of the shipments, which had a cumulative value of nearly $550,000.
Jinn admitted in court that he and his co-conspirators repackaged and sold the illegally imported drugs as “herbal supplement sexual enhancers.” The products were sold without the necessary prescriptions required by regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which had previously warned Jinn's company that it was engaged in illegal sales.
According to the plea agreement, the FDA “issued public warnings regarding these sexual supplements because they contain ingredients that can interact with other drugs in dangerous ways and may lower blood pressure to unsafe levels.”
The products marketed by Jinn and his co-conspirators were sold in storefronts and over the internet.
As part of his plea agreement, Jinn agreed to forfeit to the United States approximately $105,000 that was seized from three bank accounts during the investigation.
The FDA has warned consumers about numerous over-the-counter products that claim to be “herbal,” but in fact contain hidden active ingredients.
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations; the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; the Los Angeles Police Department; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vicki Chou and Jennie L. Wang of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.
Component(s): USAO – California, Central
Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney's Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) 213-894-6947
Press Release Number: 17-154Updated August 22, 2017
Central District of California DOJ / 17-154 / August 21, 2017