A former Springfield business owner was sentenced this week for selling a male enhancement supplement that he marketed as ‘all-natural’, but actually contained more sildenafil than prescription Viagra, which is a synthetic ingredient.
44-year-old Michael Schindele of Jacksonville, Florida was sentenced to three years in prison without parole after pleading guilty in August to wire fraud and delivering adulterated or misbranded food. He was also ordered to forfeit the nearly $48,000 in profit from the scheme.
Schindle was in cahoots with his brother 42-year-old John Schindele, and 46-year-old Jennifer Travis of Nixa. John Schindele and Travis both pleaded guilty in separate, but related cases, and sentenced to five years of probation.
According to his plea agreement, John Schindele fraudulently received $210,000 for the misrepresented and mislabeled dietary supplements from April 16, 2012, to July 8, 2015. According to her plea agreement, Travis fraudulently received $152,862 for the misrepresented and mislabeled dietary supplements from June 2, 2014, through Jan. 31, 2017.
“This criminal scheme involved thousands of individual acts of fraud over several years, and distributed misbranded and dangerous products throughout the United States. This placed the health of an untold number of individuals at risk because the product contained dangerous levels of sildenafil – the active ingredient found in Viagra – more potent than what a person could obtain through a doctor’s prescription.” -U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison
Among the many supplements sold by Schindele under Executive Image International, Schindele Enterprises, and Midwest Wholesale was Silver Bullet, marketed as an “all-natural male performance enhancer,” an “Extreme Male Stimulant,” and a “dietary supplement.” In reality, Silver Bullet was full of sildenafil.
Officials say Schindele imported the drugs from China. His companies raked in more than $150,000 in sales from the drugs between 2011 and 2014.
After he moved to Jacksonville, Schindele started another similar business to commit the same fraud. He hired someone in Georgia to handle the mailing and distribution of the illegal drugs, and to use the proceeds from these fraudulent sales to pay for his personal expenses and transfer the cash in order to conceal his involvement. The new operation sold dangerously misbranded products that contained sildenafil and tadalafil at higher than normal levels that a physician would prescribe. In fact, there is not a combination pill currently approved by the FDA that contains both drugs, as they are created by different manufacturers.
Also during that time, Schindele also pleaded guilty in a separate and unrelated case to the misdemeanor offense of introducing an unapproved animal drug. Schindele admitted that he sold heartworm tablets that were produced in Australia that had not been approved for sale in the United States. Even if they had been approved, the drug would still have to be prescribed by a veterinarian. Federal agents seized 1,368 doses of the heartworm tablets from Schindele’s EZBody store in Springfield. Michael Schindele was sentenced for that offense in July 2012 to one year of unsupervised probation.