Raw Deal dietary supplements may have been more accurately named than anyone realized. The president and owner of Raw Deal, Inc., Barry Steinlight, was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison yesterday for selling diluted and adulterated products.
Steinlight, 70, of Hackettstown, New Jersey, was also ordered to forfeit $1 million in profits. He had previously pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud.
“The Justice Department has increased its attention on supplement sellers like Barry Steinlight who sell products that are not what they claim to be,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will investigate and prosecute companies and individuals that sell supplements that threaten the health of the American public and drain their bank accounts with misrepresented products.”
In pleading guilty, Steinlight admitted that from at least 2009 through November 2013, he instructed Raw Deal employees to add “fillers,” including maltodextrin, viobin cocoa replacer, and rice flours, to the dietary ingredients and supplements sold to customers.
Steinlight also directed Raw Deal employees not to list the “fillers” as ingredients on certificates of analysis issued to its customers as proof of the identity of the ingredients contained in the products. During his plea hearing, Steinlight admitted that Raw Deal Inc.’s gross profits during the scheme were between $7 million and $20 million.
Yesterday, Raw Deal’s executive vice president, Catherine Palmer, 38, of Budd Lake, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging her with obstructing an agency investigation. Her sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 21.
According to court documents, Palmer lied to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators and ordered a subordinate to falsify a dietary supplement product’s ingredient list before submitting it to the FDA. In addition, she admitted instructing a Raw Deal employee not to run blenders during the 2012 inspection so that the FDA would not see “fillers” being added to customer orders.
Court documents also revealed that Steinlight directed Raw Deal employees to create certificates of authenticity that falsely claimed that certain Raw Deal products were kosher or organic.