ROM, Ga .– Irfanali Momin and Shiba I. Momin a / k / a Saguftabanu Momin, husband and wife, were sentenced to prison terms for naturalization fraud and conspiracy to illegally import and distribute false-branded medicines from China and trade in counterfeit goods . The momins were also criminally denatured due to their conviction for naturalization fraud.
“The defendants built their businesses and acquired their citizenship through fraud,” said acting US attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “And by illegally importing and distributing products that contain drugs that are only available in the US with a prescription issued by a licensed medical practitioner, Momins are making profits on public safety.”
“This announcement shows that those who undermine the regulatory functions of the FDA by distributing falsely branded drugs containing undeclared prescription drug ingredients and counterfeit tobacco products will be held accountable for their actions,” said special agent Justin C. Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “We will continue to bring those who put American consumers at risk by selling these illegal and potentially dangerous products.”
“The momins lived a life of lies in this country, from their fraudulent citizenship to their business of selling illegal products to customers whose health was threatened by using those products,” said Chris Hacker, FBI Atlanta special agent. “Now they will pay for their prison-time deception and loss of citizenship. The FBI is committed to working with our federal partners to protect our citizens from anyone who chooses to harm them. ”
“The momins will now face the consequences of their lies and plans to illegally obtain citizenship and import and sell false branded medicines. Their actions not only put unsuspecting buyers at risk, they also threatened the integrity of the US immigration system, ”said Katrina W. Berger, the responsible special agent, who oversees HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Homeland Security Investigations and its law enforcement partners will aggressively prosecute those who seek to profit from this fraudulent and dangerous activity.”
According to acting US attorney Erskine, the charges and other information were presented in court: Between August 2014 and November 2018, the Momins ordered and sold male enhancement products from China, which were marketed under different names. These products contained sildenafil, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Viagra, and / or tadalafil, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Cialis. Both Viagra and Cialis are only available with a prescription in the United States.
The momins had actually received more than a dozen notices from the FDA advising them not to sell these products. For more than half a decade, the FDA has warned consumers not to buy or use such “all-natural” sex products because they could cause serious side effects, particularly in men taking nitrates and suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease.
To circumvent import restrictions, the Momins’ China-based suppliers mislabelled the boxes containing the illegal pills to create the impression that the boxes contained items that can be legally imported into the US, such as beauty products, health products and health items. The Momins admitted selling $ 550,000 to $ 1.5 million in illegal drug products during the course of the conspiracy. They also sold various counterfeit goods from their warehouse in Dalton, Georgia, including counterfeit designer watches, headphones, e-cigarette machines, and tobacco paper.
Previously, in October 2013, the momins both applied to become naturalized US citizens. On his application form, Irfanali Momin falsely stated that he had never been married and did not disclose that he had actually been married to two women at the same time. During an interview with USCIS in June 2014, Irfanali Momin made the same false statements. Due to his false statements, Irfanali Momin became a naturalized US citizen on August 16, 2014. On her application form, Shiba I. Momin a / k / a Saguftabanu Momin falsely stated that she actually had no other name.She knew her real name was Shiba I. Momin, but she only passed by as Saguftabanu Momin. The investigation revealed that Shiba I. Momin had originally obtained a Georgian driver’s license in her real name, only to later obtain a fraudulent driver’s license in the name of Saguftabanu Momin – the name with which she applied for US citizenship on August 1, 2014 Fraudulently Received If USCIS had known these facts, it would have denied her citizenship
On February 12, 2021, Irfanali Momin, 48, and Shiba I. Momin a / k / a Saguftabanu Momin, 42, both from Dahlonega, Georgia, were each sentenced to one year and six months in prison by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones The prison was followed by a three-year custodial release and the payment of a $ 200 special assessment. They were both convicted on September 23, 2020, after pleading guilty to providing criminal information. On February 23, 2021, Judge Jones issued orders to revoke her U.S. citizenship.
This case has been investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
US Assistant Attorney Alex R. Sistla is pursuing the case.
For more information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The US Attorney’s Office web address for the Northern District of Georgia is https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.