US man jailed, forfeits $55m for role in drug diversion case

Department of JusticeA South Florida man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for reselling diverted and stolen medicines.

William Rodriguez pleaded guilty to conspiring with a company called Altec Medical to defraud the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was sentenced in a Florida court last week. He was also ordered to forfeit $55m, a sum which represented the proceeds of the scheme, according to the agency.

In the scheme, stolen and diverted prescription drugs were resold to Altec by two companies controlled by Rodriguez.

Rodriguez admitted that all of the drugs sold to Altec had been obtained from unlicensed, illegal drug distributors, including street-level transactions in which individuals sold their medications for money in Miami as well as from cargo thefts.

He also said the conspirators created drug pedigrees that falsely said that the drugs had been obtained from legitimate sources, such as drug manufacturers or their authorised distributors.

"Drug diversion is a serious crime that puts consumers at risk," said Stuart Delery of the US Justice Department's Civil Division. "[It] undermines the safety and effectiveness of our prescription drug system, and we will continue to prosecute those who engage in it."

Altec Medical also pleaded guilty in the case and was fined $2m and ordered to forfeit $1m. One of Rodriguez' conspirators - Eduardo Torres, pleaded guilty to the crime of supplying a false pedigree and was due to be sentenced this week.

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