Benjamin Suarez and his company, Ohio-based direct mail and Internet marketer Suarez Corporation Industries, Inc.(SCI), will no longer sell their dietary supplement AbGone in Alameda County or anywhere else in California.
Suarez agreed to settle a civil enforcement action alleging that it used false and misleading marketing claims to sell or attempt to sell unapproved and/or misbranded food, drugs and medical devices here. The agreement was signed by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wynne S. Carvill Jan. 28.
The settlement ends a multi-jurisdiction lawsuit brought by the California Nutritional Supplement Task Force, which is comprised of the district attorneys for Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano and Sonoma Counties.
The Task Force filed the action in Alameda County in June 2011, alleging deceptive marketing and sales of multiple unapproved or misbranded drugs and devices in California beginning as early as 2006 in violation of California's False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws.
It further alleged that SCI and Suarez illegally marketed and sold a variety of weight loss, health and pain control products based on advertising claims that were unsubstantiated, false or misleading. Shortly after the case was filed, the Alameda County Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting SCI from selling AbGone, one of the products in question.
The defendants agreed to pay or have already paid a combined $1,796,114.50 in penalties, restitution and restitution credits.
The complaint alleges that this was one of many such cases involving SCI, including proceedings brought by the U.S. Postal Service, and various other states.