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Maker of male sexual products may change name, spokesman

CINCINNATI — A company that distributes male sexual enhancement products and herbal supplements — and whose president was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud for its marketing techniques — says it is looking for a new identity.

That may include a name change, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals says, though what happens to “Smiling Bob” — the goofy-looking caricature featured in ads for the company’s main product, Enzyte — remains to be seen.

“With innovative marketing, customer loyalty and demand and the continued commitment of its employees, vendors and retail partners, Berkeley will get back to the $200 million per year company it used to be,” the company said in a statement released this week.

It did not respond to a request for comment from founder and president Steve Warshak, who is scheduled to be sentenced in August. His lawyer, Martin Weinberg, did not return a call.

Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals distributes products alleged to boost energy, manage weight, reduce memory loss and aid restful sleep.

But it is Enzyte, which the company claims will improve sexual performance, that drives revenue.

Federal prosecutors accused the company of bilking customers out of $100 million through a series of deceptive ads, manipulated credit card transactions and refusing to accept returns or cancel orders.

After a six-week trial that ended in February, Warshak and other executives, including his mother, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Some former employees, including relatives of Warshak, pleaded guilty to other charges and testified that the company created fictitious doctors to endorse its pills, fabricated a customer-satisfaction survey and made up numbers to back claims about Enzyte’s effectiveness.

Warshak could face more than 20 years in prison. He and the company were ordered to forfeit cash, homes and cars worth more than $33 million.

The company, in the statement, said it is bouncing back.

“Consumers are continuing to order their brands both directly and at retail,” the company said.

“Despite the recent economic downturn, BPN has hired 70 employees in the last 45 days and looks to double the size of their call center by the end of ’08. Plans are in place for more product launches and more aggressive recruiting.”

The company’s website lists 12 products, including tablets said to relieve joint pain, problems associated with menopause and other health issues.

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