Three Florida residents were sentenced to federal prison for their role in a fraud scheme involving baby formula and other items, according to a release from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Johnny Grobman, Raoul Doekhie, and Sherida Nabi were given an 18-year prison sentence for cheating manufacturers out of at least $100 million.

“The fraud perpetrated by these defendants is nothing short of egregious,” said U.S. Attorney Gonzalez. “The 18-year prison sentences reflect the seriousness of the defendants’ crimes. Our Office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who commit these types of offenses.”

The DOJ detailed that the trio lied to product manufacturers that they had a government procurement contract and planned to ship the various goods overseas to Suriname. However, the group resold the items in the United States, pocketing the profits.

In order to secure the discounted goods, the three people used multiple methods:

“The first was to send “dummy” shipments abroad. The dummy shipments did not contain the products purchased from the manufacturers, but they did generate documentation to prove that an export occurred. The second method was to “U-turn” the products: The products were shipped abroad, generating export documentation. As soon as they arrived overseas, they were shipped back to the United States. The third method was to create fraudulent export shipping documentation showing that the products were exported when they actually never left the country,” the DOJ press release explained.

A jury found them guilty on multiple charges.

“Today’s announcement should serve as a reminder that those who fraudulently divert consumer products for profit will be held accountable for their actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Miami Field Office. “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who engage in fraudulent schemes involving FDA-regulated products.”

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Baby Formula” by ManuelPacheco.