Owner Of A Consumer Products Testing Company Pleads Guilty To $46 Million Fraud Scheme Involving Fabricated Test Results
Defendant Admitted to Sending Customers Fraudulent Reports for Laboratory Tests That Were Not Fully Performed
Audrey Strauss, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that GABRIEL LETIZIA Jr., the owner and executive director of AMA Laboratories, Inc. (“AMA”), a consumer products testing company in New City, pled guilty today to defrauding customers by reporting laboratory test results for panelist testing that was not fully performed. LETIZIA pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison. Former AMA employees David Winne, Mayya Tatsene, Patrycja Wojtowicz, and Kaitlyn Gold previously pled guilty in connection with their respective roles in the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As he has now admitted, Gabriel Letizia schemed for decades to defraud customers of his laboratory, and caused sunscreens and other consumer products to be sold and marketed to consumers on the basis of false laboratory testing reports. Letizia’s guilty plea underscores that my Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute fraud and endangerment in the consumer products testing industry.”
According to the allegations contained in the Second Superseding Information, publicly available information, court filings, and statements made during the plea proceedings:
LETIZIA is the owner and executive director of AMA, a consumer products testing company in Rockland County, New York. David Winne served as AMA’s technical director, Mayya Tatsene served as AMA’s clinical laboratory director, Patrycja Wojtowicz served as AMA’s associate director of clinical studies, and Kaitlyn Gold served as AMA’s supervising laboratory technician. AMA tested the safety and efficacy of cosmetics, sunscreens and other products on specified numbers of volunteer panelists for consumer products companies.
From 1987 through April 2017, LETIZIA and his co-conspirators defrauded AMA’s customers of more than $46 million by testing products on materially lower numbers of panelists than the numbers specified and paid for by AMA’s customers. LETIZIA, and AMA employees acting under his direction, sent the customers fraudulent reports, which falsely represented that AMA had tested the products on the number of panelists specified by the customers, causing the introduction of misbranded products into interstate commerce.
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LETIZIA, 71, of New City, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; and two counts of causing a misbranded drug to be introduced into interstate commerce, each of which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentence of LETIZIA will be determined by the Court.
LETIZIA will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas on September 14, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey C. Coffman, James McMahon, and Olga I. Zverovich are in charge of the prosecution