Hazim Gaber, 22, of Edmonton, Canada, pleaded guilty today in Phoenix before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward C. Voss to selling counterfeit cancer drugs using the Internet, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke for the District of Arizona and FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office Nathan T. Gray.
Gaber was indicted by a federal grand jury in Phoenix on June 30, 2009, on five counts of wire fraud for selling counterfeit cancer drugs through the website DCAdvice.com. At the plea hearing today, Gaber admitted selling what he falsely claimed was the experimental cancer drug sodium dichloroacetate, also known as DCA, to at least 65 victims in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands between October and November 2007. According to the plea agreement, Gaber charged $23.68 for 10 grams of the purported DCA, $45.52 for 20 grams or $110.27 for 100 grams, plus shipping.
Gaber admitted that, in actuality, he sent victims a white powdery substance that was later determined through laboratory tests to contain starch, dextrin, dextrose or lactose, and contained no DCA. According to court documents, along with the counterfeit DCA, the packages also contained a fraudulent certificate of analysis from a fictitious laboratory and instructions on how to dilute and ingest the bogus DCA. DCA is an experimental cancer drug that has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States. According to the plea agreement, Gaber knew that the website DCAdvice.com contained false claims that it was the only legal supplier of DCA and falsely claimed it was associated with the University of Alberta.
According to information contained in the plea agreement, DCA is an odorless, colorless, inexpensive, relatively non-toxic experimental cancer drug that is highly sought after by cancer patients. A doctor at the University of Alberta in Canada published a report in early 2007 summarizing the results of a study, which showed that DCA caused regression in several cancers, including lung cancer, breast cancer, and cancerous brain tumors. According to information contained in the plea agreement, DCA cannot be prescribed by a medical doctor in the United States or Canada, as it is neither currently approved for use in patients with cancer nor available in pharmacies.
At the plea hearing, Gaber also admitted to selling more than 800 pirated copies of business software between February 2007 and December 2008.
Gaber was arrested on July 25, 2009, in Frankfurt, Germany, and was extradited to the United States.
At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 2, 2010, before U.S. District Court Judge James A. Teilborg, Gaber faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years on each of the five counts of wire fraud to which he pleaded guilty. Gaber also faces maximum fines of $250,000 per count. As part of the plea agreement, Gaber agreed to forfeit or cancel any website, domain name or Internet services account related to this fraud scheme.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Thomas S. Dougherty of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Sexton of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Significant assistance has been provided by the Edmonton Police Service, the Alberta Justice Office of Special Prosecutions-Edmonton, the Competition Bureau of Canada, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission and the Alberta Partnership Against Cross Border Fraud. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in this case. The case was investigated by the Phoenix FBI Cyber Squad.