Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
April 24, 2012: Two Israeli Men Sentenced for Smuggling Counterfeit and Misbranded Cialis into the United States
St. Louis, MO - Two Israeli citizens appeared in Federal District Court Monday afternoon to plead guilty and be sentenced for smuggling counterfeit and misbranded drugs into the United States, including the erectile dysfunction drug marketed in the United States as Cialis®. Benny Carmi, age 59, and Moshe Dahan, age 39, appeared before Federal District Court Judge Carol E. Jackson.
Benny Carmi admitted that he introduced misbranded prescription drugs into interstate commerce, smuggled prescription drugs into the United States, 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 United States.
Moshe Dahan also admitted to smuggling prescription drugs into the United States. Dahan was sentenced to one year of probation and a $15,000 fine and also paid a forfeiture of $15,000 to the United States.
Generally, as described in Court documents and testimony from today’s hearings, both men operated an Internet business in Israel that used multiple websites, including “allpillsrx.com,” “newpharm.net,” “pharmacy-on-line.com,” “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.
Carmi and Dahan were prosecuted after the Government conducted a series of “undercover” purchases of drugs with some of defendant’s Internet websites, and repeatedly ordered various prescription drugs and controlled substances, including the drug marketed in the United States as Meridia®, from defendants’ Internet websites without providing a valid prescription from any qualified health care professional. In response, defendants, through the Internet websites, shipped a number of drug packages to shipping addresses located in the Eastern District of Missouri containing various prescription drugs. 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.”
Laboratory test results of samples of the drugs obtained through defendants’ Internet websites revealed that these drugs were not genuine versions of the drugs that had been manufactured in FDA-approved drug manufacturing plants in accordance with federal law. Moreover, some of defendant’s drugs were sub-potent, containing less than the amount of active drug ingredient than what was specified in the labeling for the drugs.
Defendants are also forfeiting the Internet domain names of their illegal drug websites.
"Counterfeit pharmaceuticals pose a very serious threat to our public health and safety," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Chicago office. "People shouldn't have to put their health in jeopardy because they bought a prescription drug online that is fake, substandard, tainted or untested. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to keep imposter drugs off the street and aggressively pursue those who place consumers at risk for their own financial gain."
"The FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations 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, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.
This case was investigated by the Office of Criminal Investigation for the United States Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with essential assistance from the Israeli National Police.