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Couple Accused of Selling Recalled Supplement

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - A former inventory clerk accused of stealing recalled bottles of Anatabloc and selling them on eBay owes Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals their full retail value, the company claims in court.

Howard Jones, who oversaw the recall of Anatabloc from GNC stores, stole 1,766 bottles of the dietary supplement from the company's storage facility, then listed them for sale using his wife's eBay account, Rock Creek claims in a Federal Court lawsuit filed Sept. 23.

Rock Creek says it noticed the dietary supplement was missing after a water main burst in the company's inventory room. The company formerly known as Star Scientific says the Joneses owe it $176,000. Anatabloc sold for $99 per bottle, according to Rock Creek's lawsuit.

Anatabloc products purchased from eBay user "staceyloves31" were shipped with the couple's home address on return labels, according to the complaint.

The dietary supplement derived from tobacco flavonoids and purported to treat a variety of ailments was recalled in August 2014 after a series of FDA warnings to the manufacturer for making questionable claims, court records show.

The recall coincided with the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, who was accused of using his position to get support for regulatory testing of Anatabloc in exchange for cash and gifts.

Jurors heard testimony comparing then-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams to "sort of a snake oil salesman." McDonnell and his wife allegedly took more than $140,000 from Williams.

Jones, who is no longer employed with Rock Creek, received a severance package two months after the recall, the complaint states, although the terms on which he left are unclear.

Neither Jones nor his wife responded to a request for comment, but feedback for the eBay seller shows overall positive reviews for Anatabloc sales.

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