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Former Springfield business owner sentenced to prison

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The former owner of a now-defunct Springfield business was sentenced to jail time for a fraud scheme.

Michael Schindele, a 44-year-old who now lives in Jacksonville, Florida, received a sentence of three years and one month in federal prison without parole, as well as an order to forfeit $47,930 in profits from the scheme, according to a news release from the office of Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Schindele pleaded guilty in August 2018 to one count of wire fraud and one count of delivering adulterated or misbranded food. The former owner and operator of Executive Image International Inc., Schindele ran a scheme with two others to sell a product marketed as an all-natural male enhancement supplement that actually contained sildenafil, the active ingredient used in erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.

“This criminal scheme involved thousands of individual acts of fraud over several years, and distributed misbranded and dangerous products throughout the United States,” Garrison said in the release. “This placed the health of an untold number of individuals at risk, because the product actually contained dangerous levels of sildenafil – the active ingredient found in Viagra – more potent than what a person could obtain through a doctor’s prescription.”

The product, called Silver Bullet, was marketed as an “all-natural male performance enhancer,” an “extreme male stimulant” and a “dietary supplement.” The product’s labeling did not adequately warn customers about the use of sildenafil, which is only legally available through a doctor’s prescription, according to Garrison’s office.

Schindele worked through Schindele Enterprises and Midwest Wholesale, businesses owned and operated by his brother John Schindele, 42, and Jennifer Travis, 46, both of Nixa, to conduct the scheme. Executive Image International, Schindele Enterprises and Midwest Wholesale made at least $150,000 from the scheme, with Michael Schindele personally receiving at least $47,930, the amount he’s now ordered to forfeit. His brother and Travis both previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to five years of probation each, according to the release.

Schindele directed the purchase of sildenafil from China and issued myriad mass mailings of misleading and fraudulent advertisements for Silver Bullet.

After moving to Florida, he started another business to continue the same criminal fraud scheme, according to the release.

He also separately pleaded guilty to introducing unapproved heartworm tablets for animals. He was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation for that offense in July 2012.

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