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  1. Press Releases

Three Sentenced in International Controlled Substances and Prescription Drug Trafficking Operation

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont


Burlington, Vermont – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont announced that on April 19, 2024, Paul Bateman, 47, a citizen of the United Kingdom who previously resided in Laos, was sentenced in the United States District Court following his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, including the opiates Tapentadol and Tramadol, as well as other drugs that required a prescription. Bateman had been extradited from the United Kingdom to face charges. Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford sentenced Bateman, who has spent approximately 20 months in custody, to a sentence of time-served, with no supervision to follow, as the defendant is expected to be deported to the United Kingdom upon the completion of his sentence.

Previously sentenced in connection with this case were Bateman’s co-conspirators, Samir Doshi and Rebecca Buckley. In February 2019, following his guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute Schedule IV controlled substances and violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, United States District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Doshi to time served after Doshi had served about six months in jail. He also was ordered to forfeit $20,000. In September 2020, following her guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, Judge Reiss sentenced Buckley to five years of probation and forfeiture of $349,712.10.

According to court records, between in or about 2015 and in or about August 2019, Paul Bateman worked with others, including Buckley and Doshi, to distribute controlled substances and other prescription drugs over the internet. Bateman was a search engine optimizer (“SEO”) responsible for creating and maintaining websites that offered controlled substances and other drugs for sale. Bateman also took steps to improve the ranking of his websites in response to customer searches. The websites created by Bateman did not ask for or require a prescription prior to the distribution of controlled substances and other drugs.

In or about 2015, Bateman began working with Buckley, who provided customer service and credit card processing for customer orders made through Bateman’s websites. After customers paid Buckley, Buckley sent some of the proceeds to Bateman, typically via wire transfer. Bateman used some of this money to pay suppliers and others while keeping some for himself. The websites that Bateman and Buckley operated sold drugs such as Modafinil, a wakefulness-promoting drug that is a Schedule IV controlled substance, and prescription medications for erectile dysfunction.

Bateman also worked with Samir Doshi. In or about 2016 or 2017, Bateman and Doshi met in Thailand and discussed a business relationship in which Bateman would build websites for Doshi for the sale of Schedule IV controlled substances Tramadol (an opiate pain reliever) and Soma (also known as, Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant). Doshi provided Bateman with $2,000 to build those websites. After that meeting, Bateman created websites for the sale of Tramadol and Soma. Bateman also received commission payments from Doshi. In or about May 2018, Bateman and Doshi began marketing Tapentadol to customers, including by drafting and sending an email introducing Tapentadol as a product for sale. Tapentadol is an opiate classified as a Schedule II controlled substance.

This investigation was led by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and the United States Marshals Service substantially assisted with Bateman’s extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States. United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest commended the efforts of law enforcement and stated, “From behind their computer screens, Bateman and his co-conspirators were responsible for distributing dangerous opiates and unregulated, prescription drugs to consumers throughout the United States and across the globe for profit. Some consumers were located in Vermont, and none of the defendants were licensed to prescribe in Vermont. This case demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to halting this conduct and bringing those responsible to justice, even when they are located abroad.”

“Prescription drugs that are smuggled from overseas and are outside the secure supply chain can present a serious health risk to those who use them. The drugs may contain unknown or dangerous ingredients and are manufactured under unknown or unregulated conditions,” said Special Agent in Charge Fernando P. McMillan, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations New York Field Office. “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who traffic in illegal prescription drugs.”

Bateman was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Steven L. Barth. Doshi was represented by Mark A. Kaplan, Esq. Buckley was represented by Matthew Hart, Esq. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Andrew C. Gilman and John J. Boscia represented the United States.


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