NEWARK, N. J. (ABC4) – A Salt Lake City man has admitted to illegally selling erectile dysfunction pills he falsely marketed as herbal supplements for men.
On Tuesday, 55-year-old Robert Zeng pleaded guilty before a federal judge in New Jersey. He was charged with one count of introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead consumers.
Court officials say Zeng was the owner of various businesses, including NutopiaUSA, which sold purported natural supplements online.
In February 2020, Zeng is accused of importing three kilograms of sildenafil, an active ingredient in the prescription drug Viagra, which has FDA approval for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Zeng used the sildenafil to manufacture an unapproved and misbranded drug named “Mr. Richard Rocks.”
Court documents say Zeng then falsely marketed and labeled the drug as a dietary supplement containing only natural ingredients to treat erectile dysfunction, enhance sexual performance, improve mood, and reduce blood sugar and cholesterol.
He also did not identify that sildenafil was in the product or the potential side-effects of it, nor directions for use.
The felony charge Zeng pleaded guilty to carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August.
Court officials say Zeng’s case originally arose out of the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force lead by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.