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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Purveyor of guanábana oil pleads guilty to federal fraud charges

By John McPhaul

Ramón Julbe Rosa, the inventor of guanábana oil, pleaded guilty before federal judge Marcos López to 12 charges, including theft of government property and the introduction of unapproved new drugs into the United States, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico W. Stephen Muldrow said Wednesday.

“The United States Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement partners remain vigilant in our quest to identify corrupt individuals who, through deception and fraud, attempt to illegally benefit from federal funds, depriving law-abiding citizens of much-needed health, disability, and emergency assistance benefits,” Muldrow said in a written statement.

Julbe Rosa pleaded guilty to defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicare by receiving Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit payments while he was working.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of fraud against the Department of Veterans Affairs for fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits, and one count of fraud in connection with emergency or major disaster benefits related to Hurricane Maria. Julbe Rosa applied for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan by falsely representing that on Sept. 20, 2017, his primary residence, damaged by Hurricane Maria, was located in Morovis, when he knew full well that this was not his primary residence. As a result, the defendant fraudulently received $50,000 from the SBA.

Additionally, Julbe Rosa pleaded guilty to introducing unapproved new drugs into interstate commerce. The defendant established and operated the website through which he promoted and sold various products intended to treat serious medical conditions without U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Julbe Rosa sold at least $341,242.26 worth of new, unapproved medications, the U.S. attorney said.

Julbe Rosa will make restitution as follows: $57,552.00 to the Social Security Administration, $118,943.94 to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, $47,002.10 for the Medicare Program and $47,443.94 for the SBA for a total restitution amount of $270,941.98.

“This individual engaged in fraudulent and gainful employment activity while improperly receiving Social Security disability benefits,” said SSA Inspector General Gail Ennis. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that my office will continue to hold accountable those who defraud the Social Security Administration.”

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