The United Kingdom’s Medicine & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confiscated £14.4 million in assets from a convicted counterfeit medicine dealer.
Simon Martin Hickman, 52, from Manchester, was sentenced to two years imprisonment in June 2009 following a conviction of selling and supplying fake and unlicensed medicines, as well as money laundering £1.4 million, announced the MHRA.
However, investigators uncovered a money laundering trail that followed over thirty bank accounts in six foreign jurisdictions, including the development of an online casino based in Malta. Using the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the financial investigators revealed that Hickman pocketed £15.4 and ordered him to turn over £14.4 within six months or receive 10 years in prison, reports Securing Pharma.
Hickman was charged and convicted of selling prescription steroids illegally in 1998, and jailed for ten months. After that he set up MSH World Traders, an online business that sold counterfeit medications including Kamagra, an unapproved drug that contains sildenafil citrate, a regulated ingredient that can be dangerous if taken without the supervision of a physician. UK investigators began looking into his illegal business in 2005, making a test purchase of pills in 2006 that determined he was selling counterfeits. Despite an injunction to shut down his website in 2007, he continued to trade, and was jailed for violating the injunction, prior to his 2009 conviction, reports the Daily Mail.
Hickman was not cooperative with the investigation into his illegal profits, breaching a restraining order and selling assets without court approval. Officials found 30 bank accounts located in Malta, Holland and the Cayman Islands, reports TNT Magazine.
This confiscation cooincides with MHRA's announcement that it has engaged a new strategy to reduce the risks to patients in the UK from the threats of counterfeit medicines while increasing the pressure on criminals, focusing on prevention, incident management and investigation.
Said Nimo Ahmed, MHRA acting Head of Enforcement, "The UK market for medicines is immense and is estimated to be worth around £8,000 million. Combating the real and present threat posed by counterfeit medical products continues to remain a priority for the MHRA. We are committed to working closely with international partners and providing leadership in dealing with this issue to protect public health and maintaining public confidence in the way we obtain our medical product."