Two Pinehurst Men Sentenced in Internet Drug-Selling Scheme
Two Pinehurst residents were sentenced in federal court in Atlanta, Ga., Tuesday on charges related to the selling of prescription drugs over the Internet.
David Brady, 42, was sentenced to 32 months and ordered to forfeit $1.7 million. David Johnson, 39, received a noncustodial felony sentence. They entered guilty pleas in federal court last year and cooperated with investigators, according to an earlier news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
No information was available on where Brady would serve his prison sentence.
Brady and Johnson were two of 11 people arrested in September 2006 after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained indictments on individuals associated with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, an Atlanta-based company.
"The indictment's allegations are disturbing," United States Attorney David E. Nahmias stated in a DOJ press release from September 2006, "because customers thought they were getting legitimate and safe prescription drugs over the Internet from Canada at cheaper prices, when in reality they received adulterated fakes that were crudely made in an unsanitary house in Belize."
The lead defendant was Jared Robert Wheat, 37, of Alpharetta, Ga., the owner of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $3 million.
The company and the individuals were accused of making 24 different generic versions of drugs, including steroids Oxymethelone and Stanazolol, versions of behavior regulating drugs Ambien, Valium and Xanax, and versions of sexual performance enhancing drugs Viagra and Cialis, cholesterol pill Lipitor and the arthritis treatment Vioxx.
The U.S. attorney's office said that some of the drugs manufactured had little or no medical value.
"These defendants sought to profit from unsuspecting customers who had no idea they were buying pills manufactured in highly unsanitary conditions in a Belizian house, all without FDA approval or licensing from the rightful patent holders," Nahmias said, according to a story published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. "We are extremely fortunate that no one was sickened or killed by these drugs."
Brady pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud individuals seeking prescription drugs and to introduce into interstate commerce unapproved new drugs and adulterated new drugs. Johnson pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony for concealing criminal activity, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Brady and Johnson worked for the company in marketing, sales and distribution.
People would receive unsolicited e-mails directing them to one of several Web sites where they could order the drugs, which would then be shipped from where they were manufactured in Belize.
Moore County sheriff's deputies accompanied investigators from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to the men's Pinehurst homes in September 2007.
Contact Hunter Chase by e-mail at hchase@ thepilot.com.
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