Two southern California residents were arrested on November 28, 2018, in connection with a large-scale steroid- and stimulant-smuggling scheme in which the ingredients were disguised as dietary supplement ingredients, according to the Department of Justice.
Lynn Chau, of Rosemead, California, and Bao Luu, of Mira Loma, California, were charged in a seven-count indictment that was returned by a Los Angeles federal grand jury on November 7, 2018, and unsealed on November 29. The indictment also charged Pure Assay Ingredients, Chau’s import company in City of Industry, CA, and two Chinese citizens, Alex Wang and Ivy He, who worked for Pure Assay in Chengdu, China.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to deceive the FDA and U.S. customs and Border Protection inspectors by mislabeling stimulants and other questionable ingredients as non-controversial substances to evade government scrutiny during import. It further alleges that they sold the smuggled substances to dietary supplement manufacturers in the U.S. for use in consumer products.
According to the indictment, Pure Assay, Chau, Wang, and He prepared fraudulent documents, including false labels and certificates of analysis, and submitted them to the FDA when they believed an ingredient would be denied entry of invite inquiries from the FDA or Customs.
United States Attorney Nick Hanna said, “This case alleges a scheme designed to generate profits at the expense of the public’s health and safety. Members of the conspiracy are charged with smuggling prohibited substances, such as steroid precursors, and attempting to prevent U.S. officials from learning the true nature of the shipments that made their way into so-called dietary supplements.”
Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said, “The public deserves honesty and integrity from companies importing ingredients for the products people purchase and consume. We will continue to pursue and prosecute those who import dangerous and illegal ingredients for fraudulent purposes.”