Manager of Israel’s Optical Imaging Firm Convicted of Forging FDA Documents

Faked documents to create impression that the medical device startup had received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a key product.

Yoav Sela, former regulatory manager of Optical Imaging, was convicted in Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday of forging documents to create the false impression that the medical device startup has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a key product.

Judge Khaled Kabub convicted Sela of three counts of document forgery under aggravating circumstances, three counts of using forged documents and two counts of obtaining by fraud under aggravated circumstances. He was acquitted of providing misleading information in Optical Imaging’s 2010 share offering prospectus.

The affair surfaced in 2010 when Optical Imaging, which had developed a device for the early diagnosis of eye diseases, suddenly delayed and then withdrew a 19-million-shekel ($5.4 million) share offering for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The withdrawal of the initial public offering came after the Israel Securities Authority discovered that Optical Imaging had not obtained for its Retinal Function Imager 3006 the FDA approvals claimed in its share offering prospectus.

Kabub said in his verdict that he did not believe Sela had engaged in forgery for personal gain or hurt his employers. “It appears what began as white lies in reporting to management snowballed to the point where Sela pushed himself into a corner,” the judge said.

Moti Kimche