Category Archives: News

Pharmacy Owner Charles Terry Tenhet Pleaded Guilty

December 18, 2013
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: (313) 234-4310

 

Kentucky Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Role in Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances
Charles Tenhet will also forfeit $3 million in assets

DEC 18 (LONDON, Ky.) – A Manchester pharmacy owner and his wife will forfeit their home, more than a million dollars, and six cars that were proceeds or purchased with proceeds from a drug conspiracy.  In that conspiracy, the pharmacy owner filled prescriptions for customers without a legitimate medical purpose.

Charles Terry Tenhet, 63, of London, Ky., pleaded guilty today to a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar sentenced Tenhet to 10 years in prison following the plea. Charles Tenhet’s wife, Melissa Tenhet, 50, was sentenced to 12 months and day in prison for her role in the conspiracy. She pleaded guilty on Monday.

“Mr. Tenhet, with the assistance of Mrs. Tenhet, used his professional license to engage in a massive drug trafficking conspiracy,” said U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey. “In so doing, he inflicted a great deal of pain on his community-one already hard hit by the scourge of prescription drug abuse. The punishment is well-deserved. Those in the healing arts deserve special attention from law enforcement authorities when they choose to betray their professional duties in favor of the ill-gotten gains made from drug trafficking.”

Charles Tenhet admitted he filled out of state prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone in exchange for cash for eastern Kentuckians who had traveled in groups to pain clinics in Georgia and Tennessee and returned to visit Charles Tenhet’s pharmacies: Community Drug and Medi-Center Drug. Some customers drove as far as 600 miles to visit the clinics.

According to the plea agreement, Tenhet knew the visitors were potential drug traffickers and addicts. The plea agreement describes the Tenhets’ customers as being visibly high, lacking physical pain symptoms and appearing destitute and unemployed. Melissa Tenhet worked as the office manager for Community Drug and admitted she directed co-workers to fill the prescriptions even when the workers questioned the legality of the prescriptions.

The Tenhets agreed to forfeit approximately a million dollars in cash, six vehicles, numerous luxury watches and a plot of land, all of which the Tenhets obtained or used as part of the conspiracy. The total value of all the assets forfeited was approximately $3 million.

Under federal law, both defendants will each have to serve at least 85 percent of their respective prison sentence.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), jointly announced the guilty pleas.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case.

 

Source: DEA

 

 

Internet Pharmacy Operator Gets Jail Time

Prescription for Fraud
Internet Pharmacy Operator Gets Jail Time

10/18/13

A Florida man has been sentenced to prison for his role in importing cancer drugs manufactured overseas and then illegally selling them to doctors in the U.S.—and two doctors who bought the deeply discounted medicines have been held accountable as well.

Martin Paul Bean pled guilty to selling unapproved and misbranded drugs, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and other federal violations and was sentenced recently to two years in prison.

 

Note to Physicians (thumbnail)
View Note

‘Note to Physicians’

A Pennsylvania oncology practice was recently fined $100,000 for using unapproved cancer drugs, and the magistrate who imposed the fine also ordered the practice to place an advertisement in two medical journals warning of the dangers of using such drugs.

The ad, which will appear in upcoming issues of the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, is titled “Note to Physicians” and states, in part, “Do not put your patients, yourself or your practice at risk by purchasing and administering unapproved foreign-sourced drugs. Most of the drugs from foreign sources have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may include misbranded, adulterated and counterfeit versions of FDA-approved drugs. They may not be of suitable quality to ensure safety or efficacy.”

“The advertisement will really help get the word out to the medical community about the danger—and illegality—of buying discounted unapproved drugs,” said Special Agent Brad Godshall, a veteran health care fraud investigator in our San Diego Division. “Using only drugs approved by the FDA helps protect the supply chain from counterfeit and potentially unsafe drugs, and ultimately helps protects patients, Godshall said.

 

Bean and an associate used a marketing technique known as “blast faxing” to target oncologists around the country. The one-page fax that arrived in hundreds of doctors’ offices advertised generic cancer medicines at 20 to 35 percent discounts—and led doctors to believe that the drugs were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as required by law.

In fact, the drugs—marketed in the U.S. as Gemzar7, Taxotere7, Eloxatin7, Zometa7, and Kytril7—were manufactured in Turkey, India, and Pakistan, and were not approved by the FDA. The drugs were shipped from overseas to California, where they were repackaged and illegally sent to doctors in California, Florida, Texas, and elsewhere.

“Our investigation identified over 50 doctors across the country who purchased the cancer drugs from Bean’s online GlobalRX Store,” said Special Agent Brad Godshall, who worked the case from our San Diego Division. “Ultimately, we were able to dismantle the entire operation.”

Although many of the doctors who purchased the drugs were unaware of the fraud—some even became suspicious and notified authorities when they received shipments with foreign labeling—Godshall believes “many of the doctors who ordered from Bean didn’t do the due diligence that their position required of them. They simply relied on the representations of a con man.”

Two doctors have admitted knowingly buying the foreign drugs. One of them, a Pennsylvania oncologist whose practice purchased nearly $1 million worth of the misbranded drugs, was recently fined $100,000 and ordered to place ads in two medical journals warning of the dangers of unapproved drugs (see sidebar).

Between 2005 and 2011, Bean illegally sold over $7 million of prescription oncology drugs to doctors in the U.S. Cancer medicine is expensive, Godshall explained. “A single course of chemotherapy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.” At the same time, many cancer patients being treated by oncologists are eligible for Medicare, and reimbursements to doctors from Medicare have been cut, providing further incentive for physicians to buy non-approved discounted drugs. “All those factors added to Bean being able to successfully carry on his fraud for so long,” Godshall said.

The drugs Bean fraudulently sold turned out to be the foreign equivalents of the same drugs manufactured for the U.S. market. But without FDA oversight there is no guarantee that drugs coming into the country illegally aren’t counterfeit and unsafe, Godshall said. “The point of the law is to protect our supply chain here in the United States and to protect the health of American citizens.”

He added, “You go to a doctor and expect that they are going to treat your disease and not knowingly expose you to any dangers. But when doctors use drugs that have not been approved by the FDA, there’s no telling what you are getting. And that puts a patient’s health in jeopardy.”

Resources:
Martin Paul Bean press release
Pittsburgh Oncology Practice Pleads Guilty to Buying Unapproved Drugs
Local Oncology Practice Sentenced to Pay Millions

Pitcairn Internet Pharmacy ~Michael Arnold Sentenced

Nine Sentenced For Illegally Distributing Controlled Substances Over The Internet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Nine defendants were sentenced over the last two days for their roles in illegally distributing controlled substances to customers who bought the drugs from illicit Internet pharmacies, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano announced. The defendants were also collectively ordered to forfeit more than $94 million in illegal proceeds.

“Illegal Internet pharmacies bring significant harm to communities across the nation by making controlled substances available to teenagers, addicts, and others who are endangered when these drugs are obtained without proper medical supervision. Anyone who engages in this criminal activity can expect to be prosecuted and held accountable for their conduct,” stated U.S. Attorney Haag.

“Prescription drug abuse has risen to alarming levels, often times leaving a trail of devastation behind and negatively impacting our communities. The individuals sentenced this week were involved in online pharmacy schemes that were illegally distributing controlled substances. DEA will aggressively pursue all who choose profits over the health and safety of the public,” stated DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Balzano.

Michael Arnold, 42, of Boca Raton, Florida, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his role as the organizer and leader of the Pitcairn Internet pharmacy. From 2003 through 2007, Pitcairn sold more than 14 million doses of Schedule III and IV controlled substances, earning over $69 million in its four years of operation using websites such as ezdietpills.net, pillsavings.com, and doctorrefill.net. Arnold laundered Pitcairn’s illegal proceeds through accounts in at least eight different countries, including Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Canada, Panama, the Bahamas, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Curacao. Arnold was ordered to forfeit $69,692,488.39.

Christopher Napoli, 46, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for his role as the founder and leader of the Pharmacy USA/ SafescriptsOnline (“Safescripts”) Internet pharmacy. From November 2004 through December 2006, Safescripts sold more than 13 million doses of Schedule III and IV controlled substances, earning more than $24 million in its two years of operation. Napoli paid affiliates located in foreign countries, including Argentina, India, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland to market drugs to potential customers using websites and call centers that placed outbound calls pushing the sale of the drugs listed on the Safescripts website. Napoli was ordered to forfeit $24,609,611.48.

Daniel “DJ” Johnson, 40, of Pekin, Illinois, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his role as the software developer and manager for Safescripts. From his father’s business, Internet Commerce Corporation, Johnson assisted Napoli with the day-to-day operation of Safescripts, managing the maintenance and development of the software and hardware used to process drug orders, as well as the relationships between Safescripts at the brick-and-mortar pharmacies that filled the drug orders and shipped the pills to customers. Johnson was ordered to forfeit $835,540.

Jeffrey Herholz, 45, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was sentenced to 2 years in prison for his role as the owner and operator of Kwic Fill, a brick-and-mortar pharmacy located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that filled drug orders exclusively for Internet pharmacies, including Pitcairn and Safescripts. From February through April 2006, Kwic Fill shipped more than 7 million doses of Schedule III and IV controlled substances to customers located in all 50 states. Kwic Fill earned more than $3 million in criminal proceeds in its three months of operation. Herholz was ordered to forfeit $3,386,829.

Joseph Carozza, 67, of West Orange, New Jersey, was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for his role as one of the doctors who reviewed drug orders for Safescripts. Customers who wished to purchase controlled substances from Safescripts selected their drug of choice from a list of available options, answered a 23-question on-line questionnaire, and provided a credit card number and shipping address. After reviewing the questionnaire, Carozza clicked a button to “approve” or “deny” the drug order without meeting with or speaking to the customer who placed the drug order. The evidence at trial showed that Carozza approved more than 184,000 drug orders for Safescripts during an eleven-month period, once approving more than 12,000 orders in a single day. Carozza was ordered to forfeit $400,067.

Arnold and Herholz were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and conspiracy to launder money internationally, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, on March 1, 2012, after a four-week jury trial.

Napoli, Johnson and Carozza were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, on November 15, 2012, after a six-week jury trial. Napoli and Johnson were also convicted of conspiracy to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956.

Evidence at trial established that more than 90% of the drugs sold by Pitcairn and Safescripts were Schedule III and IV controlled substances. The drugs were primarily diet pills, such as phentermine and didrex, and anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepenes, such as Xanax, Valium and clonazepam. All of these drugs carry a potential for addiction and may be dangerous if not taken under proper medical supervision.

Also sentenced were:

Salvatore Lamorte, 54 of Freehold, New Jersey, was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison. Lamorte pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and conspiracy to launder money internationally, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, based on his role as a recruiter and consultant who located brick-and-mortar pharmacies willing to fill drug orders for illegal Internet pharmacies. Lamorte was ordered to forfeit $2,011,927.

Jeffrey Entel, 43, of Lake Placid, Florida, was sentenced to 13 months in prison. Entel pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Entel owned and operated Groupo Call Center in the Dominican Republic, a call center that placed out-bound calls soliciting drug orders for Safescripts. Entel was ordered to forfeit $3,856,453.

Dino Antonioni, 45, of Miramar, Florida, was sentenced to 9 months of imprisonment followed by 9 months of home confinement. Antonioni pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, based on his role as the pharmacist for a brick-and-mortar pharmacy that filled drug orders for illegal Internet pharmacies. Antonioni was ordered to forfeit $300,000.

Darrell Creque, 63, of Clayton, North Carolina, was sentenced to 4 years of probation. Creque pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, based on his role as the pharmacist for Kwic Fill. Creque was ordered to forfeit $23,865.

These convictions were the result of a lengthy investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Francisco Field Division’s Financial Investigative Team. The prosecution is part of the Northern District of California United States Attorney’s Office’s Health Care Fraud program and was initiated as an investigation with the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Substantial assistance was provided by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy. Assistant United States Attorneys Kirstin Ault, Thomas Stevens, and Tracie Brown, with assistance from Denise Oki, Maryam Beros, Rawaty Yim, and Rayneisha Booth, prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

 

RxProfits.com a/k/a DirectNet Partners Shut Down

On July 2, 2013, pharmacy watchdog group Legitscript.com credited themselves for the removal of RxProfits.com a/k/a DirectNet Partners.
According to the blog post, RxProfits.com was own by Doug Walker of Indianapolis, Indiana, a web designer who operates website design company wddw.net (Web Design by Doug Walker).

  • order-status.net
  • premiumcharge.net
  • RxProfits.com
  • buy-rabeprazole.net
  • buy-tadalafil-20mg.net
  • onlinerx4all.com

Website Design by Doug Walker
1035 Heatherwood Dr.
Greenwood, IN 46143
(317) 495-2518 office
(317) 507-0073 cell

Below are some of the sites we’ve captured over the years.

Read More….

Martin Paul Bean of Florida Pleaded Guilty For Selling Unapproved Drugs

September 12, 2013
San Diego, CA

Florida man sentenced for operating online San Diego-based pharmacy that sold unapproved, misbranded oncology drugs

SAN DIEGO — A Florida man was sentenced in federal court Thursday for operating an illicit pharmaceutical scheme out of his home that sold more than $7 million worth of unapproved and misbranded oncology drugs at a substantial discount to doctors in the United States through a San Diego pharmacy.

Martin Paul Bean, III, 63, of Boca Raton, Fla., was ordered to serve 24 months in federal custody after pleading guilty in February to conspiracy to commit a number of federal offenses, including wire fraud, mail fraud, selling unapproved drugs, selling misbranded drugs and importing merchandise contrary to law. Bean was also ordered to forfeit a Jaguar he purchased with illicit proceeds and to pay more than $19,000 in restitution to one of his victims.

The sentencing is a result of a two-year investigation conducted by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations, with assistance from the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspections Service.

“This defendant blithely put the public’s health at risk so he could line his own pockets,” said Derek Benner, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “This sentence should serve as reminder about the potential consequences facing those who deal in imposter drugs with no regard for the dangers they pose to patients and consumers. HSI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners here and abroad to prevent the distribution of counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals.”

As part of this guilty plea, Bean admitted that between Feb. 24, 2005 and Oct. 30, 2011, he operated the Global RX Store from his residence in Florida and sold millions of dollars of prescription oncology drugs to doctors throughout the U.S. Bean ordered the unapproved drugs from foreign sources in Turkey, India and Pakistan and sold the drugs to doctors in the U.S. at substantially discounted prices.

According to the court records, Bean directed the bulk shipments of the unapproved drugs to be sent to Oberlin Medical Supply, a wholesale pharmacy in San Diego. Co-conspirators at Oberlin Medical Supply repackaged the drugs and shipped individual orders to specific doctors in the U.S. Invoices from the wholesale pharmacy in San Diego were included in the orders, which helped create the false and misleading appearance that the drugs were approved for use in the United States. Bean and his co-conspirators also operated a call center in Winnipeg, Canada, using toll free numbers where orders from the doctors in the U.S. were accepted by telephone, fax and email.

The investigation began in early 2010 after law enforcement authorities from the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory agency advised U.S. authorities they had intercepted a shipment of an unapproved form of an oncology drug sent from a company in Pakistan to Oberlin Medical Supply in San Diego. At that time, the only approved manufacturing site for the drug to be sold in the U.S. was in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In addition to Bean, the owner of Oberlin Medical Supply was also charged in the case. Maher Idriss, 52, pleaded guilty in October 2012 to conspiracy to illegally import merchandise. At the time of his guilty plea, Idriss admitted that, between 2006 and 2011, he conspired with the owners and operators of Global Rx Store to import and distribute medication (primarily oncology drugs) not intended for sale in the United States. After receiving payment from the doctors, Idriss wire transferred payments to the foreign sources and to an account in Canada controlled by Bean and his co-conspirators. Idriss is scheduled to be sentenced before District Judge Hayes on Oct. 21.

Source: Homeland Security

Seven oncologists charged with importing unapproved Drugs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 13, 2013

Seven Ohio oncologists were charged with importing cancer medications that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The doctors were charged with causing the shipment of misbranded drugs, a misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Their names, ages and the city where they practiced medicine are:

  1. Ranjan Bhandari, 56, Liverpool.
  2. Timmappa Bidari, 68, Parma.
  3. David Fishman, 62, Euclid.
  4. Su-Chiao Kuo, 60, Brunswick.
  5. Marwan Massouh, 54, Westlake.
  6. Poornanand Palaparty, 62, Cleveland.
  7. Hassan Tahsildar, 55, Euclid.

“These doctors used drugs that had not been approved by the FDA,” Dettelbach said. “Our office is committed to working with our partners to make sure patients are getting medicine that has been properly inspected.”

“FDA’s regulatory standards are designed to ensure the safety and quality of the medical devices and drugs distributed to American consumers,” said Antoinette V. Henry, Special Agent in Charge, FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations. “We will continue to work to investigate all persons, including medical professionals, who disregard regulatory requirements and jeopardize the public health by participating in the distribution of misbranded products.”

The doctors are accused of obtaining drugs, including Zometa, Kytril, Taxotere, Gemzar, Eloxatin and others, from outside the United States, where the drugs were not approved by the FDA, according to the charges.

A drug may be considered misbranded even if it is identical in composition to an FDA-approved drug (that is, a drug labeled and packaged in compliance with the FDA’s standards) and even if it was made by the same manufacturer in the same facility as the FDA-approved version.

If convicted, the doctors face up to one year in prison and fines up to $100,000. Their sentences will be determined by the court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Collyer following investigations by the FDA – Office of Criminal Investigations and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.

Anyone suspecting health care fraud, waste or abuse can report it by calling the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General at 800-447-8477.  To learn more about health care fraud prevention and enforcement go to http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov

A charge is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nine Sentenced For Illegally Distributing Controlled Substances Over The Internet

The Internet
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Nine defendants were sentenced over the last two days for their roles in illegally distributing controlled substances to customers who bought the drugs from illicit Internet pharmacies, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano announced. The defendants were also collectively ordered to forfeit more than $94 million in illegal proceeds.

“Illegal Internet pharmacies bring significant harm to communities across the nation by making controlled substances available to teenagers, addicts, and others who are endangered when these drugs are obtained without proper medical supervision. Anyone who engages in this criminal activity can expect to be prosecuted and held accountable for their conduct,” stated U.S. Attorney Haag.

“Prescription drug abuse has risen to alarming levels, often times leaving a trail of devastation behind and negatively impacting our communities. The individuals sentenced this week were involved in online pharmacy schemes that were illegally distributing controlled substances. DEA will aggressively pursue all who choose profits over the health and safety of the public,” stated DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Balzano.

Michael Arnold, 42, of Boca Raton, Florida, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his role as the organizer and leader of the Pitcairn Internet pharmacy. From 2003 through 2007, Pitcairn sold more than 14 million doses of Schedule III and IV controlled substances, earning over $69 million in its four years of operation using websites such as ezdietpills.net, pillsavings.com, and doctorrefill.net. Arnold laundered Pitcairn’s illegal proceeds through accounts in at least eight different countries, including Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Canada, Panama, the Bahamas, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Curacao. Arnold was ordered to forfeit $69,692,488.39.

Christopher Napoli, 46, of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for his role as the founder and leader of the Pharmacy USA/ SafescriptsOnline (“Safescripts”) Internet pharmacy. From November 2004 through December 2006, Safescripts sold more than 13 million doses of Schedule III and IV controlled substances, earning more than $24 million in its two years of operation. Napoli paid affiliates located in foreign countries, including Argentina, India, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland to market drugs to potential customers using websites and call centers that placed outbound calls pushing the sale of the drugs listed on the Safescripts website. Napoli was ordered to forfeit $24,609,611.48.

Daniel “DJ” Johnson, 40, of Pekin, Illinois, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his role as the software developer and manager for Safescripts. From his father’s business, Internet Commerce Corporation, Johnson assisted Napoli with the day-to-day operation of Safescripts, managing the maintenance and development of the software and hardware used to process drug orders, as well as the relationships between Safescripts at the brick-and-mortar pharmacies that filled the drug orders and shipped the pills to customers. Johnson was ordered to forfeit $835,540.

Jeffrey Herholz, 45, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was sentenced to 2 years in prison for his role as the owner and operator of Kwic Fill, a brick-and-mortar pharmacy located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that filled drug orders exclusively for Internet pharmacies, including Pitcairn and Safescripts. From February through April 2006, Kwic Fill shipped more than 7 million doses of Schedule III and IV controlled substances to customers located in all 50 states. Kwic Fill earned more than $3 million in criminal proceeds in its three months of operation. Herholz was ordered to forfeit $3,386,829.

Joseph Carozza, 67, of West Orange, New Jersey, was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for his role as one of the doctors who reviewed drug orders for Safescripts. Customers who wished to purchase controlled substances from Safescripts selected their drug of choice from a list of available options, answered a 23-question on-line questionnaire, and provided a credit card number and shipping address. After reviewing the questionnaire, Carozza clicked a button to “approve” or “deny” the drug order without meeting with or speaking to the customer who placed the drug order. The evidence at trial showed that Carozza approved more than 184,000 drug orders for Safescripts during an eleven-month period, once approving more than 12,000 orders in a single day. Carozza was ordered to forfeit $400,067.

Arnold and Herholz were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and conspiracy to launder money internationally, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, on March 1, 2012, after a four-week jury trial.

Napoli, Johnson and Carozza were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, on November 15, 2012, after a six-week jury trial. Napoli and Johnson were also convicted of conspiracy to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956.

Evidence at trial established that more than 90% of the drugs sold by Pitcairn and Safescripts were Schedule III and IV controlled substances. The drugs were primarily diet pills, such as phentermine and didrex, and anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepenes, such as Xanax, Valium and clonazepam. All of these drugs carry a potential for addiction and may be dangerous if not taken under proper medical supervision.

Also sentenced were:

Salvatore Lamorte, 54 of Freehold, New Jersey, was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison. Lamorte pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and conspiracy to launder money internationally, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956, based on his role as a recruiter and consultant who located brick-and-mortar pharmacies willing to fill drug orders for illegal Internet pharmacies. Lamorte was ordered to forfeit $2,011,927.

Jeffrey Entel, 43, of Lake Placid, Florida, was sentenced to 13 months in prison. Entel pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Entel owned and operated Groupo Call Center in the Dominican Republic, a call center that placed out-bound calls soliciting drug orders for Safescripts. Entel was ordered to forfeit $3,856,453.

Dino Antonioni, 45, of Miramar, Florida, was sentenced to 9 months of imprisonment followed by 9 months of home confinement. Antonioni pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, based on his role as the pharmacist for a brick-and-mortar pharmacy that filled drug orders for illegal Internet pharmacies. Antonioni was ordered to forfeit $300,000.

Darrell Creque, 63, of Clayton, North Carolina, was sentenced to 4 years of probation. Creque pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute Schedule III and IV controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, based on his role as the pharmacist for Kwic Fill. Creque was ordered to forfeit $23,865.

These convictions were the result of a lengthy investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Francisco Field Division’s Financial Investigative Team. The prosecution is part of the Northern District of California United States Attorney’s Office’s Health Care Fraud program and was initiated as an investigation with the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Substantial assistance was provided by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy. Assistant United States Attorneys Kirstin Ault, Thomas Stevens, and Tracie Brown, with assistance from Denise Oki, Maryam Beros, Rawaty Yim, and Rayneisha Booth, prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

USDOJ: Attorney’s General Office