March 18, 2016: Bookkeeper for Online Pharmacy Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Money Laundering
The former bookkeeper for an online pharmacy that illegally distributed hundreds of thousands of narcotic drugs across the country was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and 200 hours of community service for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. THOMAS BROOKE, 54, of Cooper City, Florida was the bookkeeper for Discount Pharmacy. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said BROOKE was a “central cog in this operation… Thousands of people continued their addiction because of what you were involved in.”
The internet pharmacy distributed drugs to some 200 customers in Washington State between 2009 and 2012. The pharmacy shipped hundreds of thousands of pills of hydrocodone, phentermine, alprazolam (Xanax) and codeine (Tylenol 4) to people across the country who did not have valid prescriptions for the narcotics. The conspiracy brought in more than $9 million in revenue from the sale of pills during the three year scheme. The pharmacy operated four internet sites through which they solicited customers and allowed customers in Washington State to order drugs. According to the indictment, the conspiracy would continue to refill prescriptions even if no valid prescription existed. In some instances the conspirators simply looked for a physician in the same geographic area as the customer, with a similar sounding name and filled the prescription using the physician’s DEA number without the physician’s knowledge. The pharmacy charged as much as ten times the usual price for the medications.
The conspirators laundered the proceeds of their sales through a brick-and-mortar pharmacy in Florida called Discount Pharmacy of Pines. BROOKE was a key figure in funneling the flow of money through the illegal business and to the conspirators. In June 2012, the DEA seized the conspiracy’s websites, computers, and drug inventory. Even after that seizure BROOKE set up different bank accounts and continued to structure deposits to avoid currency reporting requirements.
Earlier this month Ali Lovins, 44, of Cooper City, Florida was sentenced to three years in prison. Lovins is a registered nurse and was the office manager for Discount Pharmacy. LOVINS pleaded guilty in April 2015 to four felony counts: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances by means of the internet; conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; conspiracy to launder money; and conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
All but one of the defendants who were indicted in May 2014 has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing:
- The originator of the scheme, JUAN GALLINAL, 48, of Pembroke Pines, Florida is a former police officer from Virginia. He is scheduled for sentencing in October 2016.
- JORDAN TRUXELL, 26, of Davie, Florida served as the registered agent for Discount Pharmacy dba frontierpharmacies.com. He is scheduled for sentencing in May 6, 2016.
- CRAIG GREER, 43, of Hollywood, Florida, a former police officer, worked to promote the internet pharmacy scheme. He is scheduled for sentencing on April 8, 2016.
- KEVIN KOGAN, 48, of Cedar Park, Texas, set up the websites and servers for the online pharmacy, and attempted to hide the conspiracies databases from investigators. He is scheduled for sentencing April 8, 2016.
- JERRY DELMAN, 83, of Miami, Florida, a pharmacist who ostensibly oversaw the prescriptions going out the door to customers is being evaluated for a medical condition that could impact his ability to participate in a trial.
This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Portland Tactical Diversion Squad which is comprised of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Portland Police Bureau. Substantial investigative assistance was provided by the Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) – Florida, and DEA Miami Field Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mike Lang, Francis Franze-Nakamura and Brian Werner.