LOS ANGELES – On October 23, 2015, the owners and operators of 10 Southern California businesses were charged in federal court with illegally selling cosmetic contact lenses without prescriptions. The charges are the result of an investigation in which products purchased were contaminated with dangerous pathogens that can cause eye injury, blindness and loss of the eye.
The store operators are accused of selling “misbranded” contact lenses because they were sold without prescriptions. The contacts were marketed as Halloween and beauty accessories under names such as Wonder Look, Red Rose, Black & White, Beauty World and Crazy Eagle.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Import Operations Branch of the Los Angeles District Office; the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations; the California Department of Public Health (CDPH); and the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigation, Health Quality Investigation Unit.
"CDPH and DCA investigators want to be sure unsuspecting consumers don't end up with health and or vision problems as a result of buying products that should not be sold without a prescription," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "These contacts may look like fun but they can cause severe problems and don't belong in costume or cosmetic stores."
“Contact lenses that fit the eye poorly could cause eye damage, including scratches on the cornea, corneal infection, conjunctivitis, decreased vision and blindness,” according to the charging documents. “Under California law, a California resident retailer could only sell and/or dispense contact lenses if the retailer was a licensed physician or surgeon, licensed optometrist, registered dispensing optician, or a pharmacist.”
Contact lenses – whether corrective, cosmetic or decorative – are considered to be prescription medical devices subject to FDA regulations. Due to the risk of injury, blindness and possible eye infection, all contact lenses require prescriptions from medical professionals who can provide guidance on the proper care and maintenance of the contact lenses.
The 10 cases filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles charge these defendants:
· Farshid Ben Cohen, 53, of Los Angeles; owner of Arianna Beauty, Inc.
· Alex Mario Collantes Marxelly, 40, of San Bernardino, owner of Zebra Accessories
· Kathy Hwang, 51, of Chino Hills, Fashion 20
· Rezvan Moazzez, aka Ron Moazzez, 69, of Encino; owner of Hollywood Toys & Costumes, Inc.
· Sin Young Yi, 59, of Chino Hills, owner of Yi’s Accessories
· Susie Shin, 52, of La Mirada, owner of My Treasure
· Dong Ki Min, 51, of Chino Hills; owner of J2 Trading, Inc.
· Jeong J. Park, aka Sarah Park, 55, of La Mirada; owner of Fashion Dream
· La Moda XVII, Inc., doing business as Fashion Q in Baldwin Park; and
· Kyung Sook Jung, aka Grace Lee, owner of Zzotta Shoes
All of the defendants named in the criminal informations will be issued summonses directing them to appear for arraignments in federal court in the coming weeks. A criminal information contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.
All of the charges filed in Operation Fright Night are misdemeanor offenses that carry a statutory maximum penalty of one year in federal prison and fines of up to $100,000 for an individual and up to $200,000 for a corporation.