Cheryl Floyd, who founded Floyd Nutrition and ran the company out of her home in Harrisburg, PA, was sentenced today to 30 months behind bars for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and money laundering.
The company sold a number of “all natural” diet products — with names like Slim Trim U, ZXT Slim Bee Pollen, Magic Slim, Lean Body Extreme, Bnew Beauty and Body, and Natural Body Solutions — that federal prosecutors say actually contained the drugs sibutramine and phenolphthalein.
Sibutramine, better known by the name-brand Meridian, has been off the market since 2010 when its maker pulled the prescription drug following studies that showed increased heart attack and stroke in certain populations.
Until 1999, phenolphthalein was used in over-the-counter laxatives. Then the FDA reclassified the ingredient as “not generally recognized as safe and effective” after studies indicated that phenolphthalein presented a potential carcinogenic risk. According to the FDA, phenolphthalein has also been found to be genotoxic in that it can damage or cause mutations to DNA.
Floyd imported her products from China and sold them to U.S. consumers over the Internet. In 2014, after the FDA detained shipments of products intended for the Floyd warehouse, federal investigators obtained a search warrant and seized a large number of the company’s products.
In May 2015, Floyd entered a guilty plea. As part of the deal, she also forfeited five properties she owned, a 2014 Chevy truck and nine bank accounts. She is set to start serving her sentence on Nov. 16.
“Manufacturing and selling products marketed as ‘all-natural’ dietary supplements put U.S. consumers at risk of serious injury or death when they actually contain dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients,” said George M. Karavetsos, Director, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to protect consumers from public health risks and fraud.”