MAY 07 (ALEXANDRIA, Va.) –Anoushirvan Sarraf, 48, and Eva Montejo Pritchard, 48, both of Rockville, Maryland, were convicted yesterday by a federal jury on charges of conspiracy related to their roles in a scheme to illegally import non-FDA-approved chemotherapy and cosmetic drugs into the United States.
Sarraf, a physician who owns Aphrodite Advanced Esthetic & Skin Care Clinic in McLean, Virginia, was also convicted on charges of illegal importation, receiving and delivering non-FDA-approved drugs and devices, and engaging in the unlicensed wholesale distribution of prescription drugs. In all, Sarraf was convicted of nine felonies and four associated misdemeanors, while Pritchard, who was the office manager of the clinic, was convicted of a single felony count of conspiracy.
Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Antoinette V. Henry, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations; Katrina W. Berger, Acting Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Washington; Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the jury’s verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
Sarraf and Pritchard were indicted on Jan. 30, 2014, by a federal grand jury. According to court records and evidence at trial, Sarraf partnered with Gallant Pharma, an unlicensed wholesale prescription drug distributor, in exchange for a deeply discounted price on non-FDA-approved cosmetic drugs and devices. Sarraf used those cosmetic drugs and devices on patients at his McLean, Virginia practice, Aphrodite Advanced Esthetic & Skin Care Clinic, without the patients’ knowledge or consent.
Sarraf provided Gallant Pharma with his medical license to enable Gallant Pharma to order non-FDA-approved chemotherapy and cosmetic drugs from around the world, and allowed those drugs to be smuggled into the United States, addressed to Aphrodite. When the drugs arrived, a member of the conspiracy would open the boxes, take what they wanted for Aphrodite, and call individuals from Gallant Pharma to retrieve the remainder. Many of the shipments involved “cold-chain” drugs subject to strict temperature controls (which were not followed by the conspirators), and the use of these drugs posed serious potential harm to chemotherapy and cosmetic patients throughout the United States. During the three years that the partnership lasted, more than 17,000 vials of pharmaceuticals passed through Aphrodite and were sold by Gallant Pharma for more than $10.3 million.
Sarraf faces a total maximum penalty of 87 years in prison, while Pritchard faces a maximum penalty of five years, when each is sentenced on July 18, 2014. Eleven other defendants, including the co-founders of Gallant Pharma, previously have been convicted for their involvement in the partnership.
This case was investigated by DEA’s Group 33 Diversion Task Force FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, ICE-HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Arlington County Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsay Kelly, Maya Song and Jay Prabhu are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.