A former sheriff’s employee admitted Thursday that he ran a business selling millions of dollars of dietary supplements and failed to declare any of the proceeds as income on his federal tax return.
Francisco Terriquez of Chula Vista, 43, pleaded guilty in federal court to tax evasion and making a false statement to a federal officer and agreed to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
He is scheduled to be sentenced July 21 by U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff.
“As a member of a law enforcement agency for decades, this defendant knew better,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “He acted as if the rules did not apply to him, and now he is finding out otherwise.”
According to prosecutors, Terriquez, a 19-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, spent tens of thousands of dollars shipping the dietary supplements to stores and customers throughout the United States. The defendant operated his business out of several storage units, which he rented under a false name, prosecutors said.
After obtaining a search warrant, federal agents searched Terriquez’s storage units and found hundreds of vials of dietary supplements containing the controlled substance sibutramine.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, sibutramine is an obesity drug that was withdrawn from the U.S. market in October 2010 due to studies showing an increased risk of heart attack and stroke among those using the drug.
Terriquez never notified his customers that the dietary supplements he sold contained a dangerous drug, prosecutors said.
From 2011-14, Terriquez failed to report more than $500,000 in income he received from his illegal business, according to prosecutors.
–City News Service
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