Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 7, 2020
MIAMI – Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Justin Green, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), announced the convictions of three defendants for various offenses relating to an international fraud scheme.
Following a 13-day trial, on February 6, 2020, a jury found Raoul Doekhie, 51, of Suriname, Johnny Grobman 46, of Golden Beach, Florida, and Sherida Nabi, 55, of Suriname, guilty of conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiring to obtain pre-retail medical products worth $5,000 or more by fraud or deception, theft of pre-retail medical products, and smuggling goods from the United States. Sentencing is scheduled in Miami, Florida for April 23, 2020.
A fourth conspirator, Edgar Torres, 61, of Brandford, Florida, pled guilty to wire fraud conspiracy on June 24, 2019. Torres is scheduled to be sentenced in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on February 11, 2020.
According to the evidence presented at trial, between 2013 and 2018, the defendants, who also maintained residences in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, orchestrated an elaborate scheme to obtain FDA-regulated products from manufacturers in the United States at deeply discounted prices, including infant formula, eye-care products, and other food and medical devices. To get these discounts, Doekhie and Nabi told the manufacturers that they were purchasing the products to ship overseas, to Suriname, often in connection with purported government procurement contracts they held in Suriname. In fact, Defendants did not have government procurement contracts and never intended to export the products to Suriname. Instead, Grobman and others sold the products in the United States for tens of millions of dollars, which the three defendants later split among themselves.
The defendants hid their activity from the victim companies in one of three ways. The first was to send “dummy” shipments abroad. The dummy shipments did not contain the products purchased from the manufacturers, but they did generate documentation to prove that an export occurred. The second method was to “U-turn” the products: The products were shipped abroad, generating export documentation. As soon as they arrived overseas, they were shipped back to the United States. The third method was to create fraudulent export shipping documentation showing that the products were exported when they actually never left the country.
According to the superseding indictment, over $61 million in criminal proceeds is traceable to Grobman. Over $69 million is traceable to Doekhie and Nabi.
This case is the second large-scale prosecution by the South Florida U.S. Attorney’s Office and FDA-OCI targeting fraud schemes related to the so-called “gray market,” which involves the diversion and re-sale of certain goods that were not intended for distribution in the United States. Previously on September 4, 2019, U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan announced the convictions of five defendants, including Byramji Javat, a citizen of Pakistan and Chairman of the Dubai-based Uniworld Group, for various offenses relating to a global fraud scheme that relied upon false claims about the United States military and the Government of Afghanistan.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of FDA-OCI. She also thanked the Broward County Sherriff’s Office for their assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shannon Shaw, Christopher Browne, and John Shipley prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Rosen is handling asset forfeiture.
USAO - Florida, Southern