A Manhattan magistrate judge has reportedly fined Nikki Haskell and Balanced Health Products Inc. (BHP) $60,000 for distributing StarCaps, a dietary supplement advertised as an “all natural” mix of ingredients such as papaya extract and garlic that also contained undeclared amounts of bumetanide, a prescription drug used to treat heart and renal failure. Haskell, a New York socialite and self-described “Diet Queen to the Stars,” sold StarCaps as CEO of now-defunct BHP from 2006 to 2008, when the company voluntary recalled the product.
In the same year, the National Football League (NFL) cited the supplement when suspending six players who tested positive for banned substances such as bumetanide, which can mask steroid use, and later two NFL players sued Haskell and BHP alleging that StarCaps caused their positive test results. In March 2014, Haskell and BHP each pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of misbranding, which carries a maximum sentence of a $100,000 fine, one year in prison and one year of supervised release for Haskell and a $200,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain for BHP. See Reuters, June 20, 2014.