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News and Press Releases

Foreign National Sentenced to 18 Months and Ordered to Pay More than $196,000 for Trafficking in Counterfeit Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2012

A New Zealand physician who acted as a large-scale supplier of bogus erectile dysfunction drugs to distributors in California, Texas and Europe was sentenced yesterday by Federal District Court Judge George Wu to serve 18 months in prison and pay $196,160.92 after pleading guilty to federal charges stemming from a long-term probe by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI).

Robin Han, 43, a physician and citizen of New Zealand, was a resident in China prior to his arrest earlier this year.  Han pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to three counts of criminal counterfeiting.  Han was originally indicted in December 2007, but remained at large until March 29, 2012.  He was taken into custody at San Francisco International Airport following his arrival on a flight from Hong Kong.  Officers with United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detained Han after determining he was the subject of an international law enforcement alert. Subsequently, Han was transferred to Los Angeles where he has remained in federal custody ever since.

“Counterfeit prescription drugs represent a serious threat to the integrity of the medical supply system that the public needs to rely on with confidence,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr., whose office prosecuted the case. “Mr. Han violated his oath as a physician and betrayed the public trust in putting his own greed before the safety of consumers.”

“This sentence should serve as a stern warning to those selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals over the Internet,” said Claude Arnold, Special Agent in Charge for ICE HSI Los Angeles. “Imposter drugs like these pose a serious threat to buyers who mistakenly assume these substances are safe.”

The ICE HSI probe into Han’s activities began in 2006 after CBP officers at a mail facility in northern California intercepted a parcel shipped from China that contained counterfeit Cialis tablets and phony Cialis packaging. The ensuing investigation identified Han as the sender.  According to the indictment in the case, Han advertised the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals on a number of websites, including alibaba.com. During the course of the probe, ICE HSI special agents made undercover buys of some 20,000 counterfeit Viagra, Cialis and Levitra tablets with an estimated retail value of more than $196,000.  The parcels Han shipped to the undercover special agents contained packing slips which falsely claimed the contents were plastic stationery holders and pen boxes.   In imposing the sentence, Judge Wu ordered Han to  
pay $196,160.92 in restitution.

The investigation of this case was conducted by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) with assistance from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Release No. 12-139

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