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Goldenberg Schneider Recovers Nearly $24 Million for Berkeley’s Fraud Victims - May 2012

Cincinnati, Ohio – Attorneys Jeffrey Goldenberg of Goldenberg Schneider, LPA and Kathleen Brinkman of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP announced today that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has granted their petition to restore nearly $24 million to approximately 138,000 customers who were defrauded by Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, Inc. (Berkeley) during the 2001 – 2005 time period.  In addition to the $24 million in refunds, the DOJ is implementing a supplemental notice and claims process that will allow other customers defrauded by Berkeley an opportunity to apply for a refund from additional forfeited funds.  Berkeley’s top selling product during this time period was Enzyte, a male enhancement product marketed by a character known as “Smiling Bob.”  Customers interested in applying for a refund should visit http://www.berkeleyforfeiture.com.
 
The return of this $24 million is the final chapter in an eight-year litigation battle that began in March 2004 when Goldenberg Schneider, along with Sean Matt from Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, filed a class action lawsuit against Berkeley in the Montgomery County Ohio Court of Common Pleas. The case alleged that Berkeley used false and deceptive advertisements to lure hundreds of thousands of men and women into purchasing supplements. Once these customers provided credit card information to pay for the shipping of their “free” sample, Berkeley repeatedly charged these cards for additional supplement shipments – shipments that were not authorized by the cardholder.  Berkeley quickly became the most complained about business in the country according to the Better Business Bureau.

In March 2005, the United States Government seized approximately $28 million in Berkeley’s assets and pursued criminal charges against Berkeley’s owner, Steve Warshak, many of its officers, and other employees.  Mr. Goldenberg and Ms. Brinkman first pursued these assets for the victims in federal court through the restitution process at sentencing of the defendants.  Then, they pursued the assets through the federal forfeiture process by filing a class-wide petition for remission of these assets on behalf of 138,000 victims.  The DOJ granted this petition on March 14, 2012, agreeing to refund $24 million to these victims.  This is believed to be the largest number of victims to benefit from a class-wide petition in the history of the federal remission process. 

For more information, please visit http://www.berkeleyforfeiture.com.

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