The two men acted as U.S. distributors for a series of Thailand-based fake online pharmacy websites that sold imported and non-FDA approved medication to U.S. consumers.
Troy Tapia and Anthony Rouse III of Louisiana have each been sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on January 13, 2017. Rouse and Tapia acted as drop-shippers for a Thailand-based fake online pharmacy operation emanating from Thailand.
According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Rouse and Tapia worked for Thai national Duangthip Chutivaraporn, the owner and operator of online pharmacy website overseas-foreign-pharmacy.com and it’s affiliate websites.
The DOJ described Chutivaraporn’s business as “a series of online pharmacy web sites that offered a wide variety of prescription drugs for sale to United States customers without the need of a prescription or a medical history. There was no physician monitoring drugs used by the customers or requirement of any diagnosis in order to purchase or receive these prescription drugs. The site defrauded customers with false representations as to the legality of obtaining prescription drugs without a prescription.”
Rouse and Tapia fulfilled orders for the painkiller Nubain and the muscle-relaxant Fioricet, then received payment for their services the deposit of a portion of each of the sale proceeds to foreign bank accounts accessible to them via debit cards, according to the DOJ. The DOJ also reports that Rouse and Tapia fulfilled these orders buy receiving bulk shipments of the pills from Thailand that they then broke up into individual shipments to U.S. customers.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rouse and Tapia’s coconspirator, Duangthip Chutivaraporn, had previously been charged, admitted her guilt, agreed to pay the U.S. government a $1.2 million fine, and been deported back to Thailand.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation investigated this case. The case was prosecuted on behalf of the U.S. Government by United States Attorney Paul E. Hull.