Merrillville woman gets home detention for selling wrinkle remover knockoffs | Crime and Courts

Merrillville woman gets home detention for selling wrinkle remover knockoffs | Crime and Courts

HAMMOND — A federal judge sentenced a Merrillville woman Friday for peddling counterfeit wrinkle remover.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon imposed a six-month term of home detention on 37-year-old Dina Al-Sbeihi, who pleaded guilty last year to a consumer fraud charge.

The judge also sentenced her to probation for an additional 18 months and ordered her to pay $260,739 in restitution to the victims of her illicit sales.

She gave up her right to make the government prove the felony charge against her in return for the U.S. attorney’s recommendation that she receive little or no prison time.

A federal grand jury indicted Al-Sbeihi in June 2020 on charges she was importing counterfeit Juvederm and Restylane products from China and elsewhere and branding them to look like authentic brand name products.

Juvederm and Restalyne are prescription dermal fillers the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for injection into the skin for wrinkle removal.

People are also reading…

The FDA hasn’t approve foreign-made dermal fillers because of questions about their safety and efficacy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Abizer Zanzi said in a memo to the court there is no evidence Al-Sbeihi intended to harm anyone.

Nevertheless, he said, she knowingly put her customers at risk and lied to them that they were buying approved products rather than foreign knockoffs.

Zanzi said that Al-Sbeihi had a considerable inventory of the illicit product and that she was unlikely to stop selling it until she was caught red-handed.

Al-Sbeihi admitted in her plea agreement that she sold the counterfeit products from July 2015 through August 2019 through her online retail company, The Beauty Pharmacy, which she ran out of a condominium in the 6800 block of Pierce Drive in Merrillville.

The FDA, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations investigated her sales and helped bring charges against her.

Source link