The US Department of Justice building is shown in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2019.
The US Department of Justice building is shown in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2019.

A Chinese national has been sentenced to 18 months in a U.S. prison in connection with a scheme to sell mislabeled dietary supplements to U.S. companies.

Xu Jia Bao, an executive with Shanghai Waseta International Trade Co., was also sentenced to one year of probation for selling synthetic stimulant ingredients to a purported U.S. manufacturer of dietary supplements.  The U.S. company was, in fact, an undercover informant for the U.S. government.

The prosecutors said Xu admitted that he and other executives at Waseta knew major American retailers would not carry supplements known to contain certain stimulants, such as DMHA.  The stimulant, commonly known by its trade name octodrine, has been promoted for such uses as weight loss and enhanced athletic performance.  But researchers have warned about such possible side effects as high blood pressure, shortness of breath and heart attack. 

Xu also admitted that he and Waseta were responsible for a falsely labeled shipment of DMHA that was sent to Texas.

“Consumers are entitled to trust that dietary supplement products accurately identify their ingredients,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “We will vigorously pursue and prosecute those who attempt to circumvent."

Xu was arrested in September 2017 while attending a dietary supplement trade show in Las Vegas.