The Sacramento Bee reported on the sentencing of three family members for possession of unregulated pharmaceuticals and counterfeit merchandise. The trio illegally imported prescription drugs from Russia. Once in the country, Serhiy Kybych, his wife Svitlana, and their son Oleh would sell the non U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs at their businesses in the greater Sacramento area. Sometimes, they would even administer the drugs to their customers. Serhiy and Svitlana will each serve 120 days in county jail, followed by a three-year probation. Oleh received a sentence of three years probation.
According to a press release from California’s Attorney General, the husband and wife will pay a total of $79,902 in restitution to the state. Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, “The Kybychs put lives at risk by selling illegal foreign pharmaceuticals to enrich themselves. In California, we take seriously criminal activity that imperils public safety and erodes trust in our healthcare system. Criminals like the Kybychs will be held accountable.”
It took a two-year investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation and the multi-agency Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force to bring the Kybychs to justice. Over the course of the investigations, it was discovered that the family sold non FDA-approved versions of multiple drugs, including phenobarbital and antibiotics.
The TRaCE Task Force is a multi-agency group of investigators and special agents from multiple agencies that investigate, prosecute and recover revenue lost to the underground economy. These agencies include the California Department of Justice – Bureau of Investigation, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, California Franchise Tax Board, California Employment Development Department, California Department of Motor Vehicles, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security – Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
There have been many other counterfeit medicine incidents in the state of California. You can read PSM’s California 2018 Infosheet to learn more about them.