Man Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Selling Weight-Loss Product Containing Unapproved Additive

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CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago has sentenced a man to a year in prison for manufacturing and selling a purported weight-loss product containing the unapproved additive 2,4-Dinitrophenol, known as DNP.

JONATHAN E. MCGRAW, 33, of Newberg, Oregon, obtained DNP from sources in China and used it as the primary ingredient in capsules that he manufactured in a makeshift lab in his garage and marketed online as a weight-loss product.  McGraw sold the capsules to customers throughout the United States via his website – ScorpionDNP.com – and through postings on other sites, including reddit.com.  In an effort to deceive regulatory and law enforcement agencies, McGraw falsely labeled his product as pesticide. 

DNP is an organic compound that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any other regulatory agency for human consumption in the U.S.  McGraw acknowledged in a plea agreement that he knew that the use of DNP by his customers created a risk of death or serious bodily injury.

McGraw pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal charge of introducing a new drug into interstate commerce without approval.  U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee on Friday sentenced McGraw to a year and a day in federal prison.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Lynda M. Burdelik, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.

“Defendant engaged in a course of conduct over a prolonged period of time that exposed hundreds of individuals to a significant risk of harm or death,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick D. Young argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “Defendant was willing to subject hundreds of people to a risk of death in order to make money for himself.”

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