Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Carl J. Kotowski, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced that MAURICE MALIN pled guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck to conspiring to illegally sell over 5 million prescription Butalbital pills to customers across the United States who did not have valid prescriptions for the drugs. MALIN also agreed today to forfeit $9 million to the United States, which represented his proceeds from the illegal scheme. MALIN’s case is before U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As Maurice Malin admitted today in court, he made millions of dollars illegally dispensing drugs over the Internet to customers who had no valid prescriptions and had never seen a doctor. Pharmacists entrusted with the sale of controlled substances must safeguard the health of consumers, not scheme to profit from illegal drug sales.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Carl J. Kotowski said: “Unfortunately, this is another example of a pharmacist who was more interested in making fast money than he was in helping the public. His actions help to erode the public’s trust in those in positions of responsibility.”
According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and the Information filed against MALIN and statements made in court filings and proceedings, including at today’s guilty plea:
MAURICE MALIN, the defendant, was a licensed pharmacist who operated pharmacies in the Bronx, New York (the “Malin Pharmacies”). Between at least March 2014 and July 2016, MALIN engaged in a scheme to dispense Butalbital, a Schedule III controlled substance, to customers who had not consulted with a physician and did not possess a valid prescription for the drug. Specifically, customers ordered Butalbital pills by filling out online medical questionnaires that typically posed a series of “yes” or “no” questions (the “Prescription Websites”). Customers ordered the drugs on the Prescription Websites without ever seeing or speaking to a physician or medical practitioner and without obtaining a valid prescription.
After the orders were placed by customers on the Prescription Websites, these orders were then sent to pharmacies, including the Malin Pharmacies, that dispensed the prescription drugs to customers. The Malin Pharmacies filled the prescriptions for customers who had placed orders via the Prescription Websites, and then sent the drugs, specifically Butalbital, through the mail to customers located across the United States. Customers paid for the drugs by, among other means, money orders made out to business entities associated with the Malin Pharmacies and MALIN.
During the course of the investigation, undercover agents made numerous purchases of Butalbital on the Prescription Websites that were fulfilled by the Malin Pharmacies. In certain instances, MALIN’s name was listed as the fulfilling pharmacist on the Butalbital bottles agents received. In addition, many of the bottles that were received as a result of the undercover buys did not bear the name of any doctor who had prescribed the Butalbital, and instead repeated the name of the patient in the location on the label where the doctor’s name should have appeared had there been a valid prescription. MALIN was also captured on recorded phone calls with undercover agents acknowledging that he was aware that customers who placed orders on the Prescription Websites had not met with or consulted with a physician prior to placing their online order.
MALIN was arrested on August 10, 2016.
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MALIN, 83, of Suffern, New York, pled guilty today to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. MALIN’s sentencing date will be set by Judge Wood. In connection with his guilty plea, MALIN agreed to forfeit to the United States $9 million and certain specific property including funds in bank accounts and real property representing the proceeds of the scheme.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding work of the DEA New Jersey Division in the investigation and thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their assistance.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Drew Skinner and Noah Solowiejczyk are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Falk of the Office’s Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit is in charge of the forfeiture aspects of the case.
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