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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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October 27, 2011: Haverhill Woman Sentenced for Adulterating Cold Medicine


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Food and Drug Administration 
Office of Criminal Investigations




             U.S. Department of Justice Press Release



For Immediate Release
October 27, 2011


United States Attorney

District of Massachusetts

Contact: Christina Dilorio-Sterling

(617) 748-3356



BOSTON - A Haverhill woman was sentenced today in federal court for adulterating cold medicine purchased from a drug store in violation of the adulteration provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


REBECCA DESTEFANO, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns to one year of probation after pleading guilty to adulteration of a drug.


At the June 30, 2011 plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that in October 2010, after obtaining cold medicine that had been purchased from a drug store in Haverhill, DESTEFANO used the cold medicine, refilled the medicine bottle with liquid dish soap, resealed the bottle, and returned the adulterated cold medicine to a different branch of the same drug store chain for a cash refund.


United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Mark Dragonetti, Special Agent in Charge of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Sternberg of Ortiz’s Health Care Fraud Unit.