TAMPA, FL — The owner of an online company licensed under the name Beautify Forever Florida Inc. was indicted on charges she distributed an injectable wrinkle remover to customers that contained a toxin that could cause botulism.
United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the return of an indictment Monday, charging Marina Sievert, 57, of Dunedin with mail fraud, the introduction of an unapproved drug into interstate commerce, and receiving money for property she obtained illegally.
If convicted, Sievert faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each mail fraud count (two counts), three years in federal prison for each count of introduction of an unapproved drug into interstate commerce (two counts) and 10 years in federal prison for each money laundering count (two counts).
The indictment also notifies Sievert that the United States is seeking an order to seize at least $1.5 million from her. Handberg said that’s the proceeds she received from her criminal activity.
According to the indictment, beginning in July 2019 and continuing through April, Sievert owned and operated Beauty Forever Florida Inc., a Florida corporation based in Palm Harbor. The U.S. attorney contends she used the company to order, purchase, import and receive drugs and medical devices that the FDA said were “misbranded.”
On her eBay site, Sievert said her online store sells skin care products from the U.S., Europe and Korea “that are 100 percent genuine. We only sell brand-new, high-quality, 100 percent original products from around the world: USA, UK, Italy, France, Sweden, Switzerland and South Korea.”
The FDA, however, said Sievert was distributing Innotox, Medytox, and Meditoxin, all injectable drugs that contain botulinum toxin type A, a highly potent toxin that could cause botulism.
While the FDA has approved the use of the prescription neuromuscular blocking agent, Botox, to diminish wrinkles, relieve migraine headaches and reduce bladder control issues, the FDA said Sievert acquired her products from a Korean pharmaceutical company that did not have the required FDA approvals to distribute in the United States.
The FDA said Sievert made fraudulent representations about her products to her customers, claiming they were approved by the FDA, had “cleared customs” and had “guaranteed authenticity.”
According to the indictment, Sievert collected online orders through her website and used the United States Postal Service and private and commercial package carriers to acquire to have the unapproved drugs from foreign pharmaceutical retailers shipped to her.
She then used the postal service and other carriers to send the drugs to her customers in the United States, said the indictment.
According to Sievert’s eBay site, the company sold 785 items through eBay and she received 100 percent positive feedback from her customers.
However, complaints compiled by the Better Business Bureau show not all her customers were happy with their purchases.
In one case, a customer reported that the products Sievert was selling as a dermal filler weren’t “genuine.”
Sievert responded that “the customer didn’t read any warnings and now she is blaming our company for her own mistakes.”
She added that it isn’t her fault the customer didn’t have medical training and didn’t know how to use the product.
Patch reached out to Sievert for comment but has not yet heard back.