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Michael Ellis, one of the founders of Metabolife, today (June 9) was sentenced to six months in custody for lying to the Food and Drug Administration. In 1998 and 1999, Ellis and Metabolife sent letters to the FDA stating that the company had "never received a notice from a consumer that any serious adverse health event has occurred because of the ingestion" of the company's main product containing the deadly (and since banned) ephedra. But Metabolife's own documents showed that the company had received reports of seizures, heart attacks, strokes and other serious health problems. In 1988, Ellis and Michael Blevins were arrested for making methamphetamine. Blevins got five and a half years behind bars and Ellis got probation. Those two plus Robert Bradley later founded Metabolife, which, after initially prospering greatly, went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005. In November of 2003, an Internal Revenue Service affidavit was unsealed. It charged that the three founders had skimmed money out of the company and stashed it in offshore tax havens. Bradley was sentenced to six months of confinement for tax evasion in 2006. That was after he had become a business partner of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

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Comments

JohnnyVegas June 13, 2008 @ 12:03 p.m.

Sounds like Nancy Hoover got a Michael Milliken prison deal-get 10 but out in 2, for whatever reason.

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JohnnyVegas June 9, 2008 @ 5:51 p.m.

Bad, bad, bad boy...... steal millions and now we must give you six whole months in jail for ripping off the poor and middle class...Bad...Bad.

Oh brother, when will this nonsense stop and white collar criminals get the time they deserve.

Ellis is a multiple convicted FELON! He made METH!

If this clown doesn't deserve serious time in the joint then I don't think anyone does.

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Don Bauder June 9, 2008 @ 8:24 p.m.

Response to post #1: It's not just the money that was stolen and, according to an IRS investigator, stashed offshore. How about the permanent damage, even death, to some who used Metabolife? Six months? Pretty pathetic. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams June 10, 2008 @ 6:53 a.m.

Don, above and beyond the damage done to individual's health, what about the damage to our country.

Metabolife and its founders were major donors to local and national politicians. If I recall correctly, they were some of the biggest backers of bigot Brian Bilbray, the chancre of the congress, who actively blocked efforts to shut them down.

Only with this kind of political pull could these meth makers peddle their meth substitute to the public. I recall Rush Limbaugh babbling on and on about how "supplements" ought not be regulated.

I think he was talking about Metabolife in particular. Later he was exposed as an oxycontin junky, and served NO TIME at all.

Hedgecock spouted similar bilge. I wonder what he's on.

Now we know that Metabolife was knowingly selling a seriously dangerous drug. But when you're wealthy and well-connected, a polite and pleasant six months is all you'll get for defrauding the public and killing people with your shoddy product.

On the other hand, if you're a student at SDSU trying to make a few bucks on the side selling grass to your buddies, the storm troopers bust down your door, put a rifle in your face, stomp on your neck, and call you scumbag.

Is there any reason for optimism when our society has gone so far off course?

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Don Bauder June 10, 2008 @ 7:02 a.m.

Response to post #3: Excellent points. Ellis and his Metabolife co-founders mixed with San Diego's Beautiful People. Ted Leitner touted the product on broadcasts. When Ellis emerges from prison, he will resume life as a wealthy San Diegan. His lawyer Charles La Bella -- once the lawyer for John Moores -- must have made a bundle off this case. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi June 10, 2008 @ 7:25 p.m.

They should seize all of the assets Ellis has. His property and off-shore money are all ill-gotten gains. The government allows crooks to keep their money and mount a defense with it, because lawyers write the laws.

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Don Bauder June 12, 2008 @ 9:04 p.m.

Response to post #5: Ellis has plenty of money. He uses it to pay lawyers such as Charles La Bella, who got John Moores off the hook in the Valerie Stallings matter. La Bella also honchoed the whitewash of Moores in the Peregrine Systems fraud. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas June 13, 2008 @ 8:24 a.m.

They should seize all of the assets Ellis has. His property and off-shore money are all ill-gotten gains. The government allows crooks to keep their money and mount a defense with it, because lawyers write the laws.

Actually the gov can indeed seize all of Ellis's money, just like they do with drug dealers. The problem is they have to locate the money first, and in Ellis's case I do not think they have found it, at least not yet.

The test for seizing cash is; can you show that the money you currently have is from legitimate sources??

If yes, then they cannot seize it, if no, well then they can.

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Don Bauder June 13, 2008 @ 9:38 a.m.

Response to post #7: An IRS investigator did an excellent job telling how Metabolife's founders had skimmed money out of the company and stashed it in offshore tax and secrecy havens. Then the topic was dropped. I have tried to find out why and come up against a stone wall -- the same stone wall I have encountered when trying to find out why Nancy Hoover, after being sentenced to ten years in prison, got out in two. If you can find out what happened, let me know, please, so I can tell the Reader audience. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 13, 2008 @ 7:05 p.m.

Response to post #9: There are two levels of justice: for the rich, and for everybody else. It's more pronounced in San Diego than most other cities in the U.S, if not all other cities. Best, Don Bauder

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bankalchemist March 9, 2011 @ 3:42 p.m.

I first met these Usual Suspects at a gathering of Ali BaBa & The Forty Bankers facilitated by Ed Brand & Tom Hassey. The Metabolife founder was invited by Ed Brand the School Super to pitch the group for 2hrs on Trust Me Only I Know The Way. The Bank organized but did not open due to financial issues and leadership concerns. An so the saga continues. bankalchemist.

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