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Online Retailer Pleads Guilty to Counterfeit Import Operation

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Justice announced Sept. 9 that the owner and operator of an online retailer has pleaded guilty to running an international operation involving imports of counterfeit and misbranded contact lenses. DOJ notes that a substantial part of this fraudulent scheme was committed from outside the U.S. and yielded at least $1.2 million in gross revenue.

All contact lenses are medical devices that must receive Food and Drug Administration authorization to enter and be further distributed in the U.S., a DOJ press release states, but the man admitted to importing large quantities of colored contact lenses from China and South Korea that he knew were counterfeit and/or unauthorized by the FDA for sale in the U.S. Many of these lenses bore labels with counterfeit trademarks, while others had labels of brands of contact lenses produced and sold in Asia.

The man then sold these counterfeit contact lenses to tens of thousands of customers around the U.S. without a prescription, adequate directions for use, or adequate warnings. The man admitted that some of these lenses were tested and found to be contaminated with potentially hazardous bacteria.

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