January 17, 2017: Tampa-Area Medical Device Salesman Guilty of Selling Expired Lap-Band Devices
A Tampa-area medical device salesman pleaded guilty on Friday, January 13, 2017, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the sale of expired LAP-BAND Adjustable Gastric Banding Systems to physicians in South Florida.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Justin D. Green, Special Agent in Charge, United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Gregory Charles Grimm, 45, of Saint Petersburg, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Grimm faces a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. Grimm is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24, 2017 at 1:15 p.m., by United States District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas in Fort Lauderdale.
According to court records, between June 2014 and October 15, 2015, defendant Grimm and a co-conspirator, Peter Lawrence Kafka, both Senior Account Executives for Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., engaged in a scheme to unlawfully enrich themselves by misbranding LAP-BAND Adjustable Gastric Banding Systems, changing the serial number and expiration date in order to sell expired medical devices for profit. Kafka would purchase expired or nearly expired LAP-BANDS through the internet. Kafka would then supply Grimm with these expired or nearly expired LAP-BANDs. Grimm created false labels with fraudulent serial numbers and expiration dates to hide the true expiration date of the LAP-BANDs. Grimm would then provide Kafka the misbranded LAP-BANDs, the labeling of which bore false expiration dates. Kafka then sold the misbranded LAP-BANDs to local physicians. At least seven of these misbranded LAP-BANDS were subsequently implanted into patients.
The investigation began as a result of a referral by Apollo Endosurgery to the FDA.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FDA-OCI in this matter. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Rothstein.