A Pinehurst man and his son pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of conspiring to distribute millions of dollars’ worth of pharmaceutical-grade erectile dysfunction pills that were falsely labeled as male herbal remedies through their Southern Pines company, Contenda Health.

Randall Cranford, 65, of Pinehurst, and his son Chase Evan Cranford, 36, of Raleigh, owned and operated Contenda Health, located at 255 Commerce Avenue in Southern Pines. Contenda Health, LLC is listed as a national wholesale distributor of dietary supplements. According to state records, it was formed in April of 2013.

The sign outside of the offices of Contenda Health was changed earlier this year to Cardinal Bay Distribution, LLC. That company is also listed as being owned by Chase Evan Cranford. According to state records, it was formed in January 2019.

The name on the office sign was change from Contenda Health to Cardinal Bay Distribution earlier this year.

Three companies and five executives have agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges in the investigation, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the California Central District.

In one of the new cases, Ronald Daniel Scott, a.k.a., “Danny Scott,” 49, of Stevenson Ranch, agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. Scott is the chief executive officer of Premiere Sales Group, Inc., a Santa Clarita-based company that also agreed to plead guilty to the same charge.

Scott admitted in a plea agreement filed today that, from 2013 until early 2017, he purchased at least 1.7 million male sexual enhancement pills for $3.8 million from John Seil Lee, 40, of Walnut, the manufacturer of the pills who pleaded guilty in February to a series of felony offenses related to his illegal business. 

According to court documents, Lee smuggled powder Tadalafil – the prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and sold under the brand name Cialis – from China.  Lee made the pills with up to 14 times the level of Tadalafil contained in Cialis. Lee sold at least $11 million worth of pills across the United States.

In their plea agreements, Contenda Health and the Cranfords admitted to purchasing more than 1.4 million misbranded pills from Lee for approximately $2.1 million, which they resold to retail locations across the United States.

Once they entered their guilty pleas, the businessmen charged will each face a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison. The three corporate entities will face up to five years of probation, as well as monetary sanctions of up to $200,000 in fines or twice the gross gain resulting from the criminal offenses.

The arraignments for the Cranfords is July 15.

The investigation into these cases was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

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