Phu Tan "Peter" Luong, Accused of Using Wheelchair Scam Funds to Start Business Hawking Dangerous Boner Pills

Phu Tan "Peter" Luong, Accused of Using Wheelchair Scam Funds to Start Business Hawking Dangerous Boner Pills

Phu Tan Luong, a 55-year-old health-care fraudster who moved from Huntington Beach to a federal prison cell in Plano, Texas, where he is serving 10 years for a scam involving wheelchairs and hospital beds, has now been charged with distributing mis-branded drugs marketed as "all-natural" versions of prescription boner pills like Viagra.

The con, who is also known as Peter Luong, and his 26-year-old daughter Helene Ngoc Bich Luong, were charged in a filing recorded in the United States District Court in Los Angeles last week with using a company called Vitapro, Inc. to deliver into interstate commerce misbranded drugs called Vitalex for men and Vitalex for women.

The Luongs allegedly obtained the components of Vitalex from China and shipped the drugs from Orange County throughout the United States and to other countries. They were advertised and labeled as "herbal sexual enhancement supplements" and "all-natural" versions of Viagra, Cialis or Levitra.

But, according to the feds, the supplements actually contained an unregulated drug--an Acetildenafil-analog--which is similar to those found in brand-name erectile dysfunction drugs and which pose a serious health risk. (Go here for more details.)

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Five years ago, Phu Tan Luong was convicted of 35 counts of health-care fraud and five counts of money laundering in connection with a medical supply company he owned called United Medical Supply that submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for enteral nutrition, motorized wheelchairs, and hospital beds that were not medically necessary and, in many cases, never delivered. Medicare suffered $14 million is loses from the scam.

The latest filing alleges Luong used ill-gotten gains from that scheme to launch Vitapro with his daughter and even continued to run the business from behind bars.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration seized a large amount of the Vitalex products and packaging from the Vitapro business and Luong family residence in 2008.

However, Vitalex products continue to be sold over the Internet. In fact, while researching this post, Clockwork found another Orange County man with a web page hawking the all-natural boner uppers.

He may not be in business for long, according to Thomas Emerick, special agent in charge, FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Los Angeles Field Office, who says in a press statement his office "is fully committed to investigating and supporting the prosecution of those who may endanger the public's health and safety by manufacturing and selling unsafe products to be used on an unsuspecting public."

The Luongs are each charged with one count of delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of a misbranded drug, a misdemeanor offense that carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.

The elder Luong is expected to be returned to Southern California for a June 7 arraignment date.

Helene Luong is believed to be in Canada. She had been residing in the family's Huntington Beach home--before the government seized it.


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