Berkeley Neutraceuticals executives plead guilty in federal fraud case

6a0133f3a4072c970b015391efe34d970b-550wiFrom the Cincinnati Business Journal comes this article that details a plea agreement with four former senior executives of Berkely Premium Nutraceuticals, Inc. on mail fraud charges. Among them Greg Cossman, former President of Berkeley. Berkeley is known to television viewers across the nation as the marketer of the Enzyte male enhancement supplement, featuring “smiling Bob” who just can’t wipe that happy smile off his face.

Important note: while some of the allegations in this case concern false or misleading advertising, this is not an unfair, deceptive or false claims case in the FTC or FDCA context. Click on these pdf documents I have posted here to review the Statement of Facts, Information, and Plea Agreement filed against Cossman. As you will see, the Statement of Facts in particular refers to a scheme where consumers’ credit cards were billed without authorization, and promised refunds were not delivered.

The news report linked above includes the following quote:

“The ultimate goal of the conspiracy was to obtain money from consumers by false and fraudulent representations in connection with the sale of (Berkeley) products,” the government said in court papers.

But look closer. The vast majority of the false and fraudulent representations concern the company’s business practices, not its supplement claims. An important distinction IMHO.

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Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

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6 Comments

  1. pdelia said:

    This is an important distinction; however, their claims have always been outrageous and a black eye on the supplement industry.

    I think the fraud charges are far more serious in terms of sentence and thus the government chose to pursue that rout instead.

    Personally, I’d like to see a very stiff sentence. Maybe, though doubtful, other crooks in the industry (and there are many) will then take notice.

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  3. berkeleyite said:

    I worked for this company, along with several other very good people. This company offerered some very good products and the source of all of their evils was the result of one man, and one man only, Steven Warshak! He dreamt up every plan and scheme that went on in this company and browbeat and overpaid employees to carry them out. Now, due to his criminal actions a lot of innocent people are going to be dragged down the tube along with him simply because they had the misfortune of needing a job and ending up associated with him. He gave people false titles so they would have to deal with the heat and he could stay out of the spotlight. Then he did as he wanted to all along, regardless of the advise he’d receive from his supposed executives. He controlled 100% of the decisions and policies concerning the sales and billing practices. He made 100% of the calls concerning hirings and layoffs. He made the calls as to which vendors got paid and when. He even refused to pay for toilet paper for the employee restrooms. This was in a building with 400 women! He was the great and powerful oz hiding behind the curtain. A total coward who is selling his mother, sisters, brother-in-law and his closest compatriates down the river. He’s letting them take the fall for his actions. Not to mention the others in the organization that will be indicted due to his actions (and it will probably be many). What an absolute pity.

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