Jury Selection For Enzyte Trial Started Today

Jury selection began today for the federal trial against the man, his mom, and the business associates responsible for the “male enhancement” supplement Enzyte, reports WKRC in Cincinnaaa-ti. The charges against Steve Warshak and his Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals company include “committing wire and mail fraud, money laundering, and misbranding.” No mention of creating what’s possibly the world’s most irritating TV ad, but we guess that crime is so great that it’s being left for hell to sort out.

The company, based in Forest Park, is best known for the male enhancement supplement Enzyte and it’s spokesperson, “Smiling Bob”.

The 84 page indictment accuses the company of lying about the effectiveness of its products and side effects, and well as its money-back guarantee. The company owners are also accused of making millions of dollars by charging customers credit cards without their approval. The indictment claims customer loss tops $100 million dollars.

What we can’t figure out is why Enzyte is still being advertised on late night cable TV every weeknight—on reruns of “Frasier” of all things.

“Company Behind “Smiling Bob” On Trial” [WKRC-TV Cincinnati]
(Thanks to David!)
(Photo of vengeful lion: Getty)

Comments

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  1. brainswarm says:

    Sad to say, annoying commercials are not illegal. Even the Head-on commercial is better than any of the Enzyte ones.

  2. Nicholai says:

    @brainswarm: I wouldn’t go THAT far….

  3. goodkitty says:

    In third world countries they do the same thing, except ‘male enhancement’ comes from ground up newt or some such thing. It’s fun to see how regardless of how much time passes or how much technology you have around, people are still equally dumb inside. Wait, actually it’s depressing. Oh well.

  4. Trai_Dep says:

    They don’t actually SAY they’ll do anything, though. Besides snarky innuendo, their ads are promise-free.

    CC fraud on the other hand, they’ll legitimately fry for.

  5. Antediluvian says:

    Well, until men are happy with what they’ve each got, someone will sell this sort of crap.

    A coworker said it best: when asked, “who do you expect to please with that?”, he replied: “Well, me.”

  6. strathmeyer says:

    I’m watching the commercial right now on G4.

  7. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Ugh. G4 needs better advertising parters.

  8. SkyeBlue says:

    If you really watch those commercials they are pretty funny with all their “phallic” symoblism and comments made up to look like they AREN’T phallic symbols and comments.

  9. Hedgy2136 says:

    Well, they do say free trial… You know you have to give a credit card # to pay for shipping and they do recurring billing. Can anybody say “freecreditreport.com” or any of a host of other similar credit card rip-off’s

  10. Rider says:

    Has anyone seen the new one for the foot pads that remove toxins from your body? how the hell are these ads ever allowed to air.

  11. jchabotte says:

    i’d love to treat the guy who created the whistling melody to those commercials to a mouthful of broken teeth.

  12. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Because in real life, Chris, Frasier ended up marrying an ex-stripper and if YOU take Enzyte, YOU CAN TOO! Duh!

  13. Parting says:

    Did he send spam, too?

  14. RvLeshrac says:

    @Rider:

    They have the standard BS disclaimer on them. Thank the FTC for allowing that stupid back-door.

    There are also millions of gullible idiots who will buy anything that says ‘homeopathic’ or ‘all natural’. Arsenic is all-natural, but I don’t see them gulping it down by the quart.

  15. rit says:

    I was in Duane Reade (New York City’s “AMC Gremlin” of drug stores) standing in line for the pharmacy and noticed this crap sitting on the shelf.

    I guess if you can’t dupe customers on late night tv, get your crappy product on the shelves in stores. What’s sad is it was one of about 15 ‘homeopathic’ ‘natural male enhancement’ supplements on the shelf.

  16. rlee says:

    Wait, wait! You’re telling me the stuff doesn’t work?!? Well, damn, I guess I need to pull all those spams out of the trash bin…

  17. PVogel says:

    @Hedgy2136 – Enzyte ads are squeaky clean now. The problem was before April 13, 2005. That was when the Postal Inspectors raided Berkely Neutraceutical’s headquarters. It seemed that when you gave a credit card to pay shipping for the initial free sample, you were placed on a negative option plan that was literally impossible to get off of, hence the mail fraud.

  18. telepanda says:

    I think this xkcd says it best: [xkcd.com]

  19. MightyPen says:

    someone please let me knows if this goes class action…

  20. Rider says:

    This can all be solved by making TV stations somewhat responsible for claims made in advertising.

  21. MercuryPDX says:

    @goodkitty: Dumb may be too strong for Snake Oil.

    It claims to cure two embarrassing problems (erectile dysfunction and stamina issues) that older men may be ashamed to bring up with their doctor, and gives them a prescription-free pill to discretely fix it.

    The fact that “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” appear in smaller text… faster than their target audience can even read, means nothing. You have a company that’s preying on people and not much different than the creams that claim to give women “larger, firmer breasts”, or the miracle pills that allows you to “lose weight while you sleep”.

    @trai_dep: The website (still alive, and not worth a link) also does a very good job with the verbal slight of hand. They have VERY slick copywriters, and plenty of lawyers to ensure they step right on the line and never cross it.

    @Rider: Ask the FDA. Marketing it as a “dietary supplement” means the manufacturer only needs to prove the ingredients won’t kill you, not that they work.

  22. MercuryPDX says:

    @PVogel: Still happening. The site today says the only way to get the ‘free’ 30 Day Enzyte Sample is to pay $4.00 shipping and handling*…

    *With your order you also receive automatic enrollment in our Home Delivery Plan (HDP).

  23. RvLeshrac says:

    @Mercurypdx:

    “Dumb” isn’t nearly strong enough.

    We have a culture that ignores science and critical thinking skills in favor of BS like homeopathy, “natural cures,” faith-healing, “crystals,” psychics, etc.

    You’re a mindless fool if you believe in any of this bunk. That in no way excuses the people who hock it, since they’re taking advantage of the gullible. Until people wake up and start to value a lack of faith, though, these people will continue to make billions.

  24. MercuryPDX says:

    @RvLeshrac: I’ll take “gullible” as a weaker version of dumb.

  25. MercuryPDX says:

    @RvLeshrac: AND competely agree with this: “We have a culture that ignores science and critical thinking skills in favor of BS like homeopathy, “natural cures,” faith-healing, “crystals,” psychics, etc.”

  26. quail says:

    Ah, I loved the commercial where the guy’s playing Santa and all the girls in the office are sitting on his lap. And I love the stoner smile he wears on his face at all times…

  27. alhypo says:

    @mightypen: Uh… are you sure about that? Let me see: If the case goes class-action, the only people eligible for damages are those who actually signed up to receive the product; and information identifying the litigants is readily available to the public; so how many people (and by “people” I mean “men”) are going to admit they actually tried this product?

  28. alhypo says:

    @RvLeshrac: Well, think of it in terms of natural selection. The people who waste their money on this sort of thing likely waste all their money or have an inferior earning capacity to begin with. If these folks manage to breed, their genetic descendants (possibly stupid themselves) will only inherit debts, if anything, and eventually, the genetic line will terminate due to lacking economic resources.

    From that perspective, it is actually a good thing to take advantage of the idiots. It keeps them from becoming too numerous or powerful. Of course, you will have a difficult time reconciling this assumption with direct observations such as the president or Congress. Oh well…. it was worth a shot.

  29. synergy says:

    @RvLeshrac: IAWTC

  30. drjayphd says:

    @telepanda: Oh, so that’s why they sell the “Actual Size!” stickers…

  31. j-damn says:

    *If these folks manage to breed, their genetic descendants (possibly stupid themselves) will only inherit debts, if anything, and eventually, the genetic line will terminate due to lacking economic resources.*

    Uh, no, they will commit all sorts of crime and then blame it on “unequal wealth distribution”…then they’ll elect Democrats to office who distribute your wealth to them.

    Ta-da!

  32. Trai_Dep says:

    Or they’ll vote Bush. Again.

  33. ldavis480 says:

    OMG, *I* *HATE* *THOSE* *COMMERCIALS* *SO* *MUCH*

    Never before in my life have I had a more overpowering urge to take a baseball bat to my TV. Everytime that disturbing commercial comes on with its inane whistling and the vapid expression gazing turd-eating retard Bob I want to commit acts of felonious assault against that guy.

    Maybe this means the end of this company, and hence the end of the commercials.

  34. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @ldavis480: Nice icon, by the way. It fits somehow.

  35. jwissick says:

    They are a IQ test by the government. If you do not by crap off TV then you are above average IQ. Depending on how many times and what you have bought from TV, you move closer and closer to plant life IQ.

  36. dcartist says:

    They prey on desperation.

    People have a loved one get cancer, or they lose the ability to have sex, or even just lower their hair…

    or any number of lesser things…

    and they are willing to give up $20, $100, $1000, $10,000 , $1,000,000 to somebody who promises a cure (when logic and common sense tells them there is no cure).

    -

    It’s an easy sell, for any scumbag grifter with any kind of talent. I really don’t think the IQ of the target is nearly as important as how desperate they are. There’s so many asshole psychiatrists selling “stem cells” to cure brain injuries in the Dominican Republic & Mexico, and their targets are smart people… just desperate.

  37. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    I’m just waiting to see “Smiling Bob” cry on Court TV.
    That, and the freezing and garnishment of his assets.

    One can dream, can’t he? (But in that case, I’d want Smiling Bob standing before a firing squad with the Enzyte music playing in the background. I’d also want the Enzyte narrator narrating right next to “Smiling Bob”, as he also stands before said firing squad.

    Now that’s a commercial I’d probably watch over and over again!

    Andyte – For Maximum Commercial Enhancement

    Sounds like a winner!

  38. SpdRacer says:

    Drugs are GREEAATT, my favorite drug commercial is the for the RLS (restless leg syndrome)drug that lists as one of the side effects a increased desire to GAMBLE!! Frakin hilarious!

  39. banmojo says:

    @RvLeshrac: “value a lack of faith”?? Faith isn’t that problem, when it’s based on experience. Ignorance is a choice, and most people choose to remain ignorant of most things around them. Sheople of the world, kudos on allowing our planet to sink so dangerously low in the shit, on all levels. Ku-f$#@ing-dos.

  40. bohemian says:

    The commercials are mildly amusing if you look for all the innuendo hidden all over the place, beyond the obvious stuff.

    I have a friend who does a late night internet radio show and they do all sorts of weird things. One of them was to get the free pack of Enzyte and report on the results. The end result was it did nothing. This was no big deal until his wife found a second charge for $50 show up on their credit card. She was not amused.

    As for those pads you stick on your feet that supposedly draw toxins out. They are total BS. What they do is the same chemical reaction that is used in a mild form of wet etching used to etch designs into metal. The chemicals in the pad react creating a very low level current and reaction on their own and that creates the color change in the pad. It isn’t drawing anything out of your foot. There are also foot baths claiming to draw toxins out of you through your feet. Some natural medicine people and crooked chiropractors are doing this. I found a site where someone debunked the foot bath set up. It is a small tub that has a couple of electrodes in it. It is hooked up to an extremely low level electrical current. There is then some salt and a few other things put into the water and the current started. The person who looked into this mentioned that the water turns the nasty putrid colors after a few minutes even without putting your feet in there. Then it dawned on me. This is the process for salt etching metal. I am in the process of setting up the tubs to do this in my garage after reading through a Steampunk site that showed how to do this low tech etching. [steampunkworkshop.com]
    Another related site had the details on how to do this with just some papers and wet chemicals, almost identical to the stick on pads for your feet.

  41. navstar says:

    So wait… the pills don’t work?!!?

  42. arachnophilia says:

    are you kidding? those comercials are awesome.

    the sheer fact they had to go back to 50’s stereotypes to re-masculate a man… wow. you could write philosophy papers on this stuff.

    also, showing the product placed on wood was a nice, if un-subtle touch.

  43. markrubi says:

    I saw this a few weeks back on the shelf at my local wal-mart.

  44. shadow735 says:

    The only thing getting big is pinnoccio’s nose hah hah, seriously people if you have problems go to a doctor dont sign up for the fish sales man. Also its not “FREE” if you have to give a CC or pay shipping.
    hah hah the commercials are funny until you see them like every half hour.

  45. inkhead says:

    As much as I hate the commercials, the consumerist should actually be on the side of enzyte. You know why they are going on trial? Because unlike other non-FDA approved junk, they HAVE PROFESSIONAL camera work on their commercials. It actually caused a problem for the BIG drug makers because people were buying it because of the quality of the commercials, they didn’t come off as produced in the living room with a hi-8 camcorder.

    So the trial is all about stringing up a company who is getting in the way of the big drug companies plan and simple.

  46. RvLeshrac says:

    @banmojo:

    The problem is that we value faith more highly than experience.

    I have faith that a ball will come back down if I toss it into the air, because I’ve done it many times and it has always worked out in exactly the same way (with some variation in direction, but anyway…). That’s ‘good.’

    The people who buy into crap like this have ‘faith’ that things will work despite never having actually seen any proof that they work. That’s bad.

    I suppose I should specify ‘blind faith,’ but that doesn’t really get at the root of the problem, since these people think that, because someone ‘official’ said it, it MUST be true, and call that ‘evidence.’

  47. RvLeshrac says:

    @inkhead:

    If that’s not sarcasm, you’re a tool.

  48. RvLeshrac says:

    @bohemian:

    If you have an infection, there are a variety of chemicals that will ‘draw it out’ of your body (which basically means that the pus and other materials gather until they find a way to ooze out of the skin). In that sense, some items like this work. (Hot water bottles will draw out an infection, for example.)

    A little more complicated, though – and that’s what the people who sell crap like that are counting on, gaps in knowledge that they can ‘fill’ with their hogwash.

  49. Anonymous says:

    It seems to me that the easiest way to curb this type of fraud is to enact a “truth in advertising” law that forces products that make claims to be able to back them up with evidence/trials before airing them. Mainstream products would not have to change anything, but these scams that buy up cheep air-time would be mostly eliminated.