April 15, 2016 (DOJ) Former San Diego Sheriff’s Department employee Francisco Terriquez pleaded guilty today to tax evasion and making a false statement to a federal officer, admitting that he ran a business selling millions of dollars of dietary supplements and failed to declare any of the proceeds as income on his federal tax return.
Terriquez, a 19-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, spent tens of thousands of dollars shipping the dietary supplements to stores and customers throughout the United States. Terriquez operated his business out of several storage units, which he rented under a fake name. After obtaining a search warrant, federal agents searched Terriquez’s storage units and discovered hundreds of vials of dietary supplements containing the controlled substance sibutramine.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, sibutramine is an obesity drug that was withdrawn from the U.S. market in October 2010 due to studies showing an increased risk of heart attack and stroke among those using the drug. Terriquez never notified his customers that the dietary supplements he sold contained a dangerous drug.
From 2011-2014, Terriquez failed to report over a half million dollars in income he received from his illegal business. As part of his plea, Terriquez agreed to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for the full amount of taxes owed. Terriquez will appear for sentencing on July 21, 2016 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Marilyn L. Huff.
“As a member of a law enforcement agency for decades, this defendant knew better,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “He acted as if the rules did not apply to him, and now he is finding out otherwise.”
“As a former employee of a law enforcement agency, Mr. Terriquez is held to a higher standard and knew that he was operating an illegal business,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum. “Today’s plea will hold Mr. Terriquez accountable for his unlawful conduct and serve as a reminder that when purchasing dietary supplements through the internet, ask questions and conduct your own due diligence before purchasing from unknown individuals and/or companies.”