West Palm Beach Purveyor of Unnecessary Septic Tank Products Found Guilty of Wire Fraud
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., Inspector General, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General (EPA-OIG), announced the conviction after trial of defendant Cheryl Stephenson, 50, of Phoenix, Arizona, on two counts of wire fraud. Stephenson and five co-defendants had been charged on September 29, 2011 in a sixteen count indictment with conspiring to commit wire fraud. Sentencing has been scheduled for April 25, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp.
According to court documents and evidence at trial, Stephenson, in concert with other employees of FBK Products, LLC, knowingly participated in a scheme to fraudulently market and sell an unnecessary septic treatment product to consumers across the continental United States. More specifically, from March 12, 2009 through October 2010, Stephenson used the name FBK and Septic Remedy in sales pitches to mislead consumers into believing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) were affiliated with the septic treatment product being marketed by defendant under the name Septic Remedy.
According to the evidence at trial, Stephenson and others misled consumers into believing that Septic Remedy would eliminate the need to have their septic tank pumped; that government regulations had changed the components of toilet paper; and that the version of Septic Remedy being marketed by Stephenson was a second generation product, reformulated to work specifically with the purported new toilet papers. The product marketed during the scheme was valued at more than $1,000,000. In executing the fraud, the defendants duped some elderly customers into purchasing more than seventy years’ worth of Septic Remedy.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of EPA-OIG. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman O. Hemming, III.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.