Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Wisconsin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
MADISON, WIS. -- A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned the following indictments today. You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Wausau Man Charged with Fraud Scheme Involving Illegal Distribution of Prescription Drugs
Kenneth Zipperer, 54, Wausau, Wisconsin, is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, dispensing prescription drugs without a license, and money laundering as part of a scheme involving an unlicensed pharmacy and the distribution of misbranded prescription drugs. The 26-count indictment alleges that Zipperer, who worked as an insurance broker selling Medicare supplement health insurance policies to individuals age 65 or older, imported prescription drugs from India that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States and sold them to his health insurance clients.
The indictment alleges that Zipperer was not licensed to dispense or prescribe prescription drugs, and that he used his company staff, computers, and office space to order prescription drugs from India, break down bulk shipments into quantities for individual clients, store the drug inventory, issue invoices for payment, and deposit drug customer checks into the company’s business bank account. The indictment further alleges that Zipperer requested his prescription drug customers to pay him in cash to avoid creating a paper trail of the financial transactions associated with his underground pharmacy’s operations and that he conducted financial transactions knowing they represented the proceeds of unlawful activity. Finally, the indictment seeks the forfeiture of $231,315 representing the proceeds of the alleged mail and wire fraud, and $227,116 representing the amount of money involved in the money laundering offenses.
If convicted, Zipperer faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each of the 5 mail fraud charges, 10 wire fraud charges, and the 9 money laundering charges. The charge of dispensing prescription drugs without a license has a maximum penalty of 3 years in federal prison.
The charges against Zipperer are the result of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Graber is handling the prosecution.
Man Charged with Interfering with Railroad Conductor
Timothy Thomas, 31, Portland, Oregon, is charged with interfering with a railroad conductor. The indictment alleges that on November 7, 2020, Thomas interfered with an Amtrak railroad conductor while the conductor was employed in dispatching, operating, controlling, and maintaining on-track equipment, and that Thomas did so with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life.
If convicted, Thomas faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Amtrak Police Department, Canadian Pacific Police Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick M. Elgersma is handling the prosecution.
La Crosse Man Charged with Drug Crimes Involving Fentanyl & Cocaine
Jesse J. Stringer, 33, La Crosse, Wisconsin, is charged with 2 counts of distributing fentanyl, 1 count of possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute, and 1 count of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. The indictment alleges that Stringer distributed fentanyl on September 23 and September 24, 2020. It further alleges that on October 13, 2020, he possessed cocaine and 400 grams or more of fentanyl for distribution.
If convicted, Stringer faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each of the distribution charges and the cocaine charge. The charge alleging the possession of 400 grams or more of fentanyl for distribution has a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
The charges against Stringer are the result of an investigation by the La Crosse and Campbell Police Departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven P. Anderson is handling the prosecution.
Hudson Man Charged with Distributing Methamphetamine
Jacob A. Willox, 27, Hudson, Wisconsin, is charged with distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. The indictment alleges that he distributed the methamphetamine on May 5, 2020.
If convicted, Willox faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Central Wisconsin Narcotics Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson is handling the prosecution.
USAO - Wisconsin, Western