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Contact Lens Dealer Faces Criminal Charges

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A Las Vegas man was criminally charged with importing thousands of counterfeit and misbranded contact lenses from China and Korea and selling them online throughout the United States.

Dmitriy V. Melnik, 29, is charged with conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods, four counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods and five counts of introducing misbranded devices into interstate commerce.

The federal grand jury indictment was unsealed on Feb. 11.

Prosecutors say Melnik imported thousands of colored contact lenses from China and South Korea, which he knew were counterfeit and were banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Many of the Chinese-made lenses bore counterfeit trademarks for Ciba Vision FreshLook COLORBLENDS, which are made by Novartis International, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement. Others had labels of brands of contact lenses produced and sold in Asia.

Contact lenses are medical devices that must receive FDA authorization to enter the United States, Melnik sold them without a prescription and without adequate directions for use or warnings, prosecutors said.

Bogden said many customers complained about the quality of the contact lenses, and that some of them might have been contaminated with hazardous bacteria.

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