Chinese Citizen Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Related to Dietary Supplement Scheme

Dallas, TX– Zhang Xiao Dong (a.k.a. Mark Zhang), of Shanghai, China, pleaded guilty today in Dallas to committing mail fraud in connection with a scheme to sell mislabeled dietary supplements.

Zhang was the sales manager for Genabolix USA Inc. and Shanghai Yongyi Biotechnology Co. Ltd., Chinese firms that sell raw ingredients for use in dietary supplements. In pleading guilty, Zhang admitted that he agreed to help sell synthetic stimulant ingredients, including the substance known as 1,4-DMAA, to a purported dietary supplement manufacturer in the United States. According to an indictment returned in October 2017, Zhang and two co-defendants agreed with a confidential government informant to either mislabel the synthetic ingredients or otherwise help to hide the true nature of a proposed dietary supplement from retailers. Zhang admitted that he knew major American dietary supplement retailers would refuse to carry supplements known to contain certain stimulants, such as DMAA.

Zhang pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Horan of the Northern District of Texas. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment. The Court set sentencing for Oct. 15.

Zhang was arrested in September 2017 along with a co-defendant, Gao Mei Fang, while attending a dietary supplement trade show in Las Vegas. Gao pleaded guilty on April 3, 2018. A third defendant named in the case, Hu Chang Chun, is not believed to be in the United States.