Erectile dysfunction supplement fraudster gets 46 months

A California man has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for illegally importing bulk quantities of erectile dysfunction drugs that he marketed as herbal male sexual enhancement products.

South Korean national Nam Hyun Lee (62), who also went by the name if Daniel Lee and has been residing in the US illegally, earned millions of dollars from the scam.

Lee imported bulk quantities of sildenafil and tadalafil – the active ingredients in Pfizer’s Viagra and Eli Lilly’s Cialis ED brands – from a supplier in China and used the drugs to manufacture pills that he sold as herbal supplements via distributors to  liquor, gas and convenience stores across the US as well as online via sites like eBay and Amazon.

He smuggled the bulk ingredients into the US under manifests that falsely declared the drugs were products such as acrylic paint and glass bottles.

It’s not clear how many people ended up taking the illegal, unlicensed drugs, or how many may have been exposed to harmful substances aside from the risks associated with unknowingly ingesting pharmaceuticals at uncertain doses.

However, prosecutors said that “at least one of the consumers of [Lee’s] drugs…suffered a serious medical condition after taking [the] counterfeit pills.”

Sildenafil and tadalafil – both in the PDE 5 inhibitor class – can cause side effects including life-threatening drops in blood pressure, loss of vision, loss of hearing, and prolonged, painful erections that result in permanent injury to the penis.

The unlicensed drugs were sold under names such as Rhino, Orgazen, Black Panther, Libigrow, Black Stallion and Black Mamba, and Lee is estimated to have made at least $3.5m from their sale.

Lee was arrested at his residence in Fullerton, California in October 2018, but is thought to have started the illegal operation in 2015 or possibly earlier.

In 2016 and 2017, Lee established a number of companies based in Buena Park and Cypress, none of which was licensed to distribute wholesale drugs or prescription medications. He continued the illicit trade until his arrest in 2018.

The FDA issued an alert about the safety of the proucts shortly after Lee was arrested.

Lee agreed to forfeit his $1.2m residence in Fullerton, nearly $458,000 seized from eight bank accounts, $346,324 in US currency, and a 2018 Cadillac Escalade.

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