Feds say injections meant for tans based on false claims - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Feds say injections meant for tans based on false claims

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Some people would do anything to look more attractive, but three people in Middle Tennessee have been indicted for selling a controversial product that involves injecting a solution into customers who want to look tan.

Federal prosecutors say the owners of Melanocorp sold the product even after they were told to stop.

The product was never approved by the FDA, and federal prosecutors say the company made false claims about the product.

An archive of the company's now-removed website shows photographs of people with deep, rich tans. The product, the company claimed, was 100 percent American made.

But the federal lawsuit alleges that the materials were, in fact, imported from China, and that Chinese exporters sold the product for research only - not for consumption by humans.

How does an injection give you a tan? The company's website said hormones in the solution stimulate the body's own melanin production to give the users a natural tan.

But the FDA says if you make claims like that, the product has to be approved as a new drug, and this one was not.

The indictment lists Edward Manookian, Brian Manookian and Karen Manookian as the company officials who prosecutors say took part in the fraud, smuggling and conspiracy in Nashville, Brentwood and at a house in Hendersonville.

Brian Manookian has been in the news before. He's a lawyer and part owner of a firearms complex called the Nashville Armory.

Channel 4 News interviewed him in September 2012 about a gun seller who'd been shot.

We were not able to reach him for comment on the federal indictment Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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