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Sentence Ordered in Drug Counterfeiting Case
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that Christopher Wayne Lamoreaux, 38, of Anaheim, CA was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised probation, for two counts of mail fraud for his role in a kickback scheme involving counterfeit and diverted prescription drugs. District Court Judge Howard F. Sachs also ordered Lamoreaux to pay $115,278.54 in restitution to NuCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the firm which he defrauded. Lamoreaux was convicted of these charges in July 2004.
Todd P. Graves, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, successfully prosecuted Lamoreaux following an investigation conducted by the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation. Lamoreaux, the former president and CEO of NuCare, defrauded his employer by accepting secret kickbacks for negotiating a contract for the company to purchase counterfeit and diverted prescription drugs from a Missouri pharmaceutical firm, and repack these drugs for further sale.
"The FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Attorney's office are to be commended for their work in exposing and pursuing those who deal in drug counterfeiting," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner. "Those who attempt to peddle counterfeit drugs endanger lives and the integrity of our country's drug supply. This sentence sends the appropriate message to those who would consider such a dangerous and illegal activity."
NuCare, a licensed repackager of prescription drugs, also supplies drugs to urgent care facilities, indigent patient clinics, and occupational health clinics.
In late 2002, Lamoreaux negotiated a contract with Albers Medical, Inc., on behalf of NuCare. Under the agreement, Graves said, NuCare purchased Lipitor and Bextra on consignment from Albers, repackaged the drugs at its facility, and then shipped the repacked drugs to Med-Pro, another repackaging company located in Lexington, NE. NuCare paid Lamoreaux a commission of $1,692 for bringing in the business from Albers, unaware that Lamoreaux had received the more than $115,000 in kickbacks from Albers and others involved in the transactions. On March 11, 2003, Lamoreaux abruptly resigned from NuCare; shortly thereafter, the company learned of the fraud scheme from FDA investigators.
The drugs NuCare repackaged were ultimately distributed by Albers throughout the United States. Much of the Lipitor involved in the repackaging was later determined by FDA to be counterfeit.