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Press Release

Mechanicsburg Man Sentenced To 48 Months’ Imprisonment For Product Tampering

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

HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Robert K. Burns, age 61, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner to 48 months’ imprisonment for tampering with consumer products.  The sentence also included a two-year term of supervised release, which will follow the term of imprisonment.

According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, Burns previously admitted that in May 2019 he replaced pills in multiple bottles of lansoprazole with other items, resealed the bottles, and then returned the bottles to a store in Enola, Pennsylvania.  Burns similarly tampered with and then returned other products, including sinus relief products, which he returned to a Mechanicsburg store in May and June 2019, and toothpaste, which he returned to a different Mechanicsburg store in May 2019.  In August 2019, police executed a search warrant at Burns’ Mechanicsburg residence and found additional products that had been tampered with and other items indicative of product tampering, including hundreds of cut-up product packages and tamper-resistant seals.  In imposing the 48-month sentence, Judge Conner emphasized the sophisticated means Burns utilized, his repeated illegal actions, and the danger that this type of conduct creates. 

“FDA is fully committed to the vigorous criminal investigation and prosecution of any individual who threatens the U.S. consumer product supply,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear signal that illicit tampering activity will not be tolerated.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Silver Spring Township Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlo D. Marchioli and former Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Clancy prosecuted the case.

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Updated January 25, 2022