THE WHAT? The owner and Executive Director of Ama Laboratories, Gabriel Letizia Junior, pled guilty to defrauding customers by reporting laboratory results for panellist testing that were not fully performed.
THE DETAILS Four former Ama employees also pled guilty in connection with their involvement in the scheme. Ama Laboratories tested the safety and efficacy of cosmetics, sunscreens and other products via volunteer panellists.
For some 30 years, Letizia and his team defrauded the lab’s customers of more than US$46 million by testing products on materially lower numbers of panellists than the numbers specified and paid for by clients. Sentencing will take place in September.
THE WHY? US 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.”