Bilked buyers in pill scam getting refunds - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Bilked buyers in pill scam getting refunds

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Posted: Thursday, June 1, 2006 6:24 am | Updated: 2:39 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Thousands of consumers who bought pills from a Scottsdale company that were supposed to enlarge male sexual organs and women’s breasts will be getting their money back.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday that about 25,000 checks totaling more than $4 million have been mailed to people who purchased nutritional supplements from C.P. Direct.

The checks, which average $150, are restitution obtained through a civil racketeering case in which the operators of C.P. Direct admitted defrauding thousands of customers nationwide, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office.

The firm’s owners made nearly $78 million selling pills that went by names such as Longitude and Size-Max to an estimated 450,000 mail-order buyers, Maricopa County Superior Court records show.

Attorney General Terry Goddard pointed out that these types of “nutritional” supplements are not subject to federal regulations that apply to prescription or overthe-counter drugs.

C.P. Direct principals Michael Consoli, Vincent Passafiume and Suzanne Rye, all of Paradise Valley, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and fraud in March 2003. They agreed to forfeit more than $45 million in personal and business assets obtained from their illegal business activities. They also spent six months in jail and were placed on five years’ probation.

The forfeiture was part of a plea agreement and civil settlement in which the company’s principals agreed to forfeit luxury homes, a fleet of cars and bank accounts to pay off the victims.

However, Consoli and Passafiume, Consoli’s nephew, are now suing the state. In September they filed a petition for post-conviction release with the state Court of Appeals, asking that their plea agreement be thrown out, said Goddard spokeswoman Andrea Esquer. Consoli and Passafiume claim that prosecutors colluded with a dishonest customer to illegally shut down C.P. Direct and obtain its assets in May 2002.

The case is pending, and the attorney general’s office will defend it, Esquer said.

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