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Press Release

Westbrook Woman Sentenced to One Month in Prison for Adulterating a Dietary Supplement

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

Contact: James W. Chapman, Jr.
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Kathy Jordan, 61, of Westbrook, Maine, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to one month in prison and one year of supervised release for adulterating a food item, namely a bottle of fish oil capsules, with the intent to defraud.

According to court documents and testimony at the sentencing hearing, on April 3, 2012, Jordan purchased a bottle of fish oil capsules, face cream and shampoo from a retail pharmacy store near her home.  She returned all three items the following day for a full refund after tampering with each of the items.  One week later, the bottle of fish oil capsules was resold to another customer.  When resold, the bottle appeared to be unopened, with the tamper-proof plastic collar around the neck of the bottle.  Later that day, the customer returned the bottle to the pharmacist after she opened the bottle at home and discovered that it contained three different types of pills. U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigators determined that the bottle contained 10 fish oil capsules, about 70 phenytoin capsules and several stool softener pills.  Phenytoin, more commonly known by the brand name Dilantin, is a prescription anti-seizure medication that has several potential serious side effects.  The defendant told investigators that she added the phenytoin and stool softener to the bottle and returned it to the pharmacy so that she could get a full refund.

In imposing sentence, Chief Judge Torresen found that the defendant’s conduct created a risk of death or serious bodily injury if someone had accidently ingested phenytoin without a prescription from a physician, believing it to be fish oil capsules.   She told the defendant that a sentence of imprisonment was necessary to protect the public from the defendant’s actions and to send a message to Jordan and others that the court treated this as a very serious matter.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Inspector General.

Updated June 5, 2015