Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 21, 2022
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Lisa Wheeler, 56, of Lyndonville, Vermont was sentenced by United States Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford on April 19, 2022 to time served for selling misbranded pet medications which were not approved for use in the United States. Chief Judge Crawford also sentenced Wheeler to three months of probation during which she must complete 20 hours of community service at a humane society or other animal charity. The maximum penalty for this misdemeanor offense was one year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.
Wheeler also agreed to forfeit a substantial amount of pet medications, which were seized from her residence pursuant to a search warrant executed in August 2020. As the government noted at sentencing, Wheeler fully accepted responsibility for the offense and cooperated with the investigation.
According to court records, in 2020, Wheeler received voluminous shipments of prescription pet products, including flea medications, from a United Kingdom company associated with Bestflea.com, Petbucket.com, and Pharma Group. These medications were unapproved versions of prescription pet drugs available in the United States. Wheeler received hundreds of bulk packages of these pet medications and repackaged them for shipping to customers within the United States. Wheeler received a commission from the owner of the British companies for each parcel she shipped on their behalf.
Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronne G. Malham, Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations New York Field Office stated that “FDA’s responsibility to protect the public health includes ensuring that prescription drugs for animals are safe and effective and dispensed according to valid veterinary prescriptions. We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who attempt to evade the laws designed to protect our companion animals.”
This case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration (Office of Criminal Investigations) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the efforts of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in the investigation of Wheeler.
The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella. Wheeler is represented by Mary Nerino, Esq. of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Burlington, Vermont.
USAO - Vermont