11 Busted In 5-hour Energy Counterfeit Scheme

Posted On: 6/23/2015

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TAGS: 5-hour Energy counterfeits, Joseph Shayota, Adriana Shayota, Baja Exporting LLC, Living Essentials

Eleven people have been indicted on charges for an alleged scheme to distribute millions of bogus 5-hour Energy drinks. The defendants from northern California and Mexico allegedly filled legitimate bottles of 5-hour Energy with fake drinks that were headed to Mexico. Defendants Joseph Shayota and Adriana Shayota, through their company Baja Exporting LLC, had a deal with 5-hour Energy drink maker Living Essentials to distribute the energy shots in Mexico.

The counterfeit energy shots were produced with unregulated ingredients at an unsanitary facility, according to an indictment from the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California. They were reportedly removed from store shelves in 2012.

The scammers are alleged to have ordered more than 7 million label sleeves and bottle caps with the trademarked 5-hour Energy logo. After receiving the genuine product and Spanish-language packaging, they allegedly repackaged more than 350,000 5-hour Energy branded bottles to sell them in the U.S. at a 15% discount in 2011. The broader counterfeit production allegedly began soon after.

Ten of the defendants have been arrested so far. Charges include conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, commit criminal copyright infringement and introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce.