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Press Release

Two New York Residents Plead Guilty To Conspiring To Illegally Dispense And Administer Cosmetic Prescription Drugs, Import Misbranded Drugs, And Smuggle Cash

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii


HONOLULU – Bu Young Kim, age 40, and Chan Hui Cho, age 40, residents of Brooklyn, New York, entered pleas of guilty on January 25 in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii to the charge of conspiring to dispense and administer cosmetic drugs and treatment without being a licensed medical professional; import misbranded drugs contrary to law; and smuggle $79,986 in cash from the United States to South Korea. The defendants face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 when they are sentenced on July 13, 2017 by U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to court documents and information presented in court, Kim and Cho regularly traveled to the Republic of Korea for the purpose of obtaining prescription drugs with the intent of administering them to persons in Hawaii and elsewhere to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Upon acquiring prescription drugs from sources in Korea, Kim dispensed such products in the United States, including in Hawaii, to individuals seeking facial cosmetic and "filler" type treatments and procedures, along with other facial, appearance and health enhancement benefits. Neither Kim nor Cho had any formal medical or pharmaceutical education or training, and neither was licensed to practice medicine or to provide any form of medical treatment to patients. Kim and Cho charged between $100 and $500 per session, and administered their treatments to large numbers in locations such as personal residences and businesses.

Information presented in Court also revealed that that products obtained, dispensed and/or administered to individuals in Hawaii by Kim contained active pharmaceutical ingredients requiring a prescription. These products included, but were not limited to: Dysport, a prescription injection for cosmetic improvement similar to "Botox"; Lidocaine, a numbing agent; Liporase Injectible Hyaluronidase, an injectable spreading substance used to encourage the dispersion and absorption of fillers; substances containing betamethasone, a corticosteroid used to alleviate inflammation and treat severe skin conditions; substances containing dexamethasone, another corticosteroid; and substances containing triamcinolone acetonide, a topical and injectable corticosteroid.

Information presented in Court also showed that Kim and Cho were interdicted by U.S.

Customs and Border Protection inspectors in Honolulu, Hawaii on in March 2016 attempting to smuggle $79,986 on their persons and luggage concealed in sanitary napkin containers. In addition, another $86,461 in U.S. currency seized during a search of Kim and Cho’s Queens, New York residence was forfeited to the government.

The case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations and the Food and Drug Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Sorenson and Amalia Fenton.

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Updated February 3, 2017

Prescription Drugs