Fort Myers pill maker pleads guilty in illegal stimulant case

FORT MYERS, Fla. The former owner of a dietary supplement company that sold weight-loss and attention deficit pills pleaded guilty to a felony federal charge Wednesday.

Derek Vest, through the Fort Myers-based company Gentech Pharmaceuticals, knowingly allowed an illegal stimulant to be used in the dietary supplements Phen Tabz, Add Tabz, and Phen Tabz Teen.

The ingredient, known as DMAA, was not listed on the labeling for any of the supplements.

Vest entered the plea as part of a deal with prosecutors, as expected. As part of his plea agreement, Vest will have to forfeit the $2.5 million the government estimated he made off the products from April 2013 through November 2014.

He also agreed to testify in other investigations in exchange for his guilty plea.

A federal judge cautioned Vest that even though the charge, formally listed as introduction of misbranded foods, carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison, the sentencing judge could use other factors to determine a longer sentence.

Vest waived his right to a grand jury indictment and was released on a $100,000 signature bond.

 

His sentencing date has not been set.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
Writer:Chuck Myron
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