Israeli company involved in illegal online pharmacy caseEighteen people indicted in California on racketeering, other charges for operating internet business that illegally sold prescription drugs
Department officials said the 313-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in San Diego last week and unsealed on Thursday, charged the defendants with operating an online pharmaceutical distribution network known as Affpower in the United States and abroad.
The business located its administrative headquarters in Costa Rica and its computer servers in Cyprus.
It relied on foreign-based agencies, including RX Payments Ltd of Tel-Aviv, to process credit card transactions, and used various bank accounts and an accounting firm in Cyprus in an attempt to conceal its illegal proceeds from US authorities, the officials said.
The defendants included three physicians, two pharmacists, a pharmacy operator, an administrator, two recruiters of physicians and pharmacies, a credit card processor and eight affiliate Web site operators.
From August 2004 through June 2006, the network received more than 1 million Internet orders for prescription drugs, generating more than $126 million in revenues, the officials said.
According to the indictment, the network sold the drugs to customers who lacked prescriptions from a personal physician.
It paid doctors in the United States to issue prescriptions, based solely on health questionnaire answers the customers gave over the Internet. In some cases, doctors did not even review the prescriptions, the officials said.