Two Israeli citizens pleaded guilty to smuggling counterfeit and misbranded drugs into the United States. The products were sold via Internet Web sites and included counterfeit Cialis®. Benny Carmi and Moshe Dahan appeared before Federal District Court Judge Carol E. Jackson. Carmi admitted that he introduced misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce, smuggled prescription drugs into the US, and sold counterfeit prescription drugs. Carmi was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment, a criminal fine of $30,000, and a forfeiture of $50,000 payable to the US. Dahan also admitted to smuggling prescription drugs into the US. Dahan was sentenced to one year of probation and a $15,000 fine and also paid a forfeiture of $15,000 to the US. Carmi and Dahan are also forfeiting the Internet domain names of their illegal drug Web sites used to distribute the products.
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) news release explains further that “both men operated an Internet business in Israel that used multiple websites, including ‘allpillsrx.com,’ ‘newpharm.net,’ ‘pharmacy-on-line.com,’ . . . , and ‘pharmacy-pal.com,’ to illegally sell large amounts of prescription drugs to U.S. purchasers, including approximately 9029 separate drug shipments to purchasers in the United States (including multiple customers in Missouri) generating approximately $1,475,363 in gross proceeds.” An undercover investigation revealed that “Typically, packages containing drugs were imported to St. Louis, Missouri from China and India, with the exterior packaging falsely describing the contents of the shipments as ‘gifts’ that had ‘no commercial value.'”
The FDA OCI “will continue to work with our international and domestic law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who seek to sell counterfeit, adulterated and misbranded pharmaceuticals to U.S. citizens via the Internet,” said Patrick J. Holland, special agent in charge of the Kansas City Field Office, FDA, OCI. This case was investigated by the FDA OCI and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Israeli National Police.