Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
May 26, 2011: Waldorf Woman Pleads Guilty to Selling Counterfeit Viagra
Baltimore, Maryland - Sarah Anne Balsley Knott, age 28, of Waldorf, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to trafficking in counterfeit Viagra tablets.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge Antoinette V. Henry of the Food & Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office.
“People who buy pills from strangers over the internet have no idea what they may be ingesting,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Just because it looks like the actual drug doesn’t mean that it is the real thing.”
According to Knott’s plea agreement, from December 2009 through January 2011, Knott sold pharmaceutical tablets bearing counterfeit Viagra trademarks through Craigslist, email, telephone and other means. In February 2010, an investigator for Pfizer Corporation contacted the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to report three undercover purchases of Viagra through a listing on Craigslist by a seller who identified herself as Knott. Between July 20 and November 16, 2010, an undercover postal inspector purchased 25 counterfeit Viagra pills from Knott, after initially contacting Knott through email, then meeting her in person. Knott also gave the undercover inspector an additional 50 pills to sell, and wanted the undercover inspector to pay her $250 as her share of the sales she thought that the undercover inspector would make.
On January 6, 2011, a search warrant was executed at Knott’s residence. Agents seized 45,684 counterfeit Viagra tablets; and electronic records showing sales of counterfeit Viagra to a number of individuals for which Knott earned $8,425. The total loss as a result of Knott’s conduct is $119,893.96.
Knott faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz, has scheduled sentencing for August 12, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FDA - OCI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony V. Teelucksingh of the Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant United States Attorney Bryan E. Foreman, who are prosecuting the case.