Pet-drug salesman Sean Gerson begged a judge on Monday to allow him time with family before starting his 30-month prison sentence.
"My son thought I was 10-feet-tall and bullet proof," Gerson told Judge R. Gary Klausner of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. "He knows I'm not now, and he's having trouble dealing with it."
Klausner appeared to be unmoved but granted Gerson two weeks to put his affairs in order, provided he doesn't leave the state. The 49-year-old Orange County resident has until noon on March 19 to turn himself in to the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angelas.
Gerson's sentencing culminates a six-year federal investigation into his involvement in multiple websites that sell veterinary drugs illicitly.
As part of a plea agreement reached with U.S. government prosecutors in September, Gerson conceded to heading a criminal group that imported, transported and sold foreign-branded, misbranded and unapproved prescription animal drugs and parasiticides. Most of the sales were conducted online under his company Vaccination Services Inc. He'd been in business since 2002.
Gerson also admitted to intentionally defrauding and misleading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; selling unregistered and foreign-branded products to undercover law enforcement agents; and amassing at least $2.5 million from the illegal sale and purchase of pet drugs and parasiticides.
As part of the plea deal, Gerson agreed to forfeit $2.5 million in assets and pay a $200,000 fine in addition to the prison sentence.
Judge Klausner accepted the arrangement.