A federal judge has accepted the guilty plea of a Fullerton businessman who operated a con game on people struggling with weight issues.
Seung Bum Kang (a.k.a. Paul Kang) smuggled Sibutramine—an appetite suppressant banned because of its threat to heart and liver functions—from China, created fake ingredient labels that omitted its presence and sold it on his internet website as a cure for obesity.
Without obtaining required approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Kang’s P&J Trading made more than $30,000 profit during a seven-month period in 2012 by selling 30 “Fat Buster” or “Fat Burner” pills for $55.
Federal officials banned Sibutramine in October 2010 because it dangerously increases blood pressure and heart pulse rates.
“The defendant was aware of the risk that his misbranded pills posed to consumers and failed to adequately address safety concerns by never testing his products,” according to Amanda M Bettinelli, an assistant United States attorney with the Department of Justice’s Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section in Los Angeles. “Moreover, he intentionally misled his customers by creating false labels listing ingredients that he had copied from the labels of other weight loss products that he could on the shelves of Costco.”
Kang, who was born in 1964, faces a statutory maximum prison sentence of three years plus a $250,000 fine.
U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna is scheduled to announce punishment on July 29 inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; featured in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.