Indictments and Arrests Made in Counterfeit 5-Hour Energy Case

GT-5HE-BerryThe Northern District of California has issued criminal indictments and executed arrest warrants for 10 members of a counterfeiting operation that produced and sold millions of bottles of 5-hour Energy. The news arrived Thursday, more than two and a half years after Living Essentials (the parent company of 5-hour) first conducted a nationwide investigation into the matter.

That investigation, conducted in October, 2012, resulted in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit products and a shutdown of the factory, authorized by U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto of New York.

Geoffrey Potter, partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and chair of the firm’s anti-counterfeiting practice team, has led 5-hour’s legal efforts in combatting its counterfeiters. In a statement provided to BevNET, Potter celebrated Thursday’s action from the U.S. Attorney, calling the case “of monumental importance.”

“It’s the first-ever U.S. criminal indictment relating to a food counterfeiting matter,” said Potter. “Unfortunately, it may not be the last, as we are seeing rampant counterfeiting across many industries.”

As of press time, 5-hour Energy has yet to respond to requests for comment.