The U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah today announced the indictment of 18 individuals under The Controlled Substances Act for activities connected with two online pharmacies (lighthousemeds.com and federalmeds.com). Specifically, the press release and indictment allege violations of The Controlled Substances Act for the following reasons:
- some customers could purchase drugs from an online pharmacy without a medical evaluation or prescription; and
- the drugs purchased were below the purity levels for the drug labeled.
According to the press release, this internet pharmacy operation produced substantial sales of Ritalin, Xanax, Valium and Adipex:
Law enforcement authorities believe more than 11 million pills involving millions of dollars in sales were distributed though the internet businesses.
Those indicted include James A. Brinton, Gregory J. Crosby, Noah Sifuentes, Christina K. Haramija, Laura B. Harding, Edgar U. Flores-Cuevas, Martha Forrest (aka Martha McLelland), Kenneth E. Forrest, Treila Shumway (aka Trelia Forrest), Timothy Sheilds, Deborah McCoard (aka Deborah Aiken), Kimberly Lobdell, Charles J. Stuart, Rex E. Southwick, Thomas Myers, Enrique Hipolito-Ruiz, Victor Hipolito-Martinez and Jorge Hipolito-Martinez.
Some might ask why the DOJ went ahead with this online pharmacy indictment when they could have waited until the Ryan Haight Act becomes effective. Keep in mind, however, that the Ryan Haight Act will not benefit this type of prosecution. The Ryan Haight Act attempts to define a “valid prescription.” In this case, the indictment alleges that for some purchases no prescriptions were required to obtain imported medication. Consequently, the traditional CSA claims were used.
Track: View the Press Release | View the Indictment | View the Deseret News Story
Update October 9, 2008: The Salt Lake City Tribune has more on the story:
To gather customers, a Provo gynecologist, James A. Brinton, 61, allegedly struck a deal with Direct Pharmacy, a legitimate pharmacy in Florida. Direct Pharmacy rejected 95 percent of the people who applied for prescriptions, and court documents say Brinton offered to pay for the company’s online advertising if they sent those people to lighthousemeds.com. Those who went to lighthousemeds.com didn’t need a prescription, or were given one without an evaluation. Authorities say the site never had a licensed pharmacist. They did, however, have customers – nearly 60,000 transactions over 18 months ending in 2006, according to court documents.
The content on this post does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. You should not act upon the information presented on this website without seeking the advice of legal counsel. Should you wish to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in internet pharmacy, prescription, and drug law, please feel free to contact me directly.
Tags: Controlled Substances, Indictment, Internet Pharmacy Law, James Brinton, Utah