Owner Of Online Colored Contact Lens Store Pleads Guilty To Importing & Selling Counterfeit Lenses

Importing and selling counterfeit goods is against the law, so is selling imported contact lenses — even purely cosmetic ones — that haven’t been authorized by the FDA for stateside distribution. The Las Vegas owner of a website specializing in colored contact lenses has pleaded guilty to all of the above.

Dmitriy Melkin operated the now-shuttered CandyColorLenses.com, among other ventures. In February, a federal grand jury indicted [PDF] on charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods and violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic by selling misbranded medical devices across state lines.

Today, he entered guilty pleas [PDF] to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and to introduce into interstate commerce misbranded devices.

According to that plea agreement, Melnik knowingly imported large quantities of counterfeit and unauthorized colored contact lenses from China and South Korea for sale in the U.S. The lenses often carried counterfeit trademarks for products like Ciba Vision FreshLook COLORBLENDS and others.

On the Candy Color website, Melnik marketed his lenses as “authentic,” but sold them without prescription, adequate directions for use, or adequate warnings.

Just the COLORBLENDS knockoffs alone earned Melnik $200,000 of the $1.2 million he made from the online store. He faces a criminal forfeiture judgment [PDF] for that full amount. Authorities have seized around $53,000 in cash, leaving Melnik on the hook for… only $1.147 million.

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