Federal Jury Convicts Three Individuals Of Illegally Distributing Controlled Substances Over Internet
SAN FRANCISCO – Christopher Napoli, 46, of Newtown Square, Penn., Daniel “DJ” Johnson, 40, of Pekin, Ill., and Joseph Carozza, 67, of West Orange, N.J., were convicted by a federal jury yesterday of conspiring to distribute and distributing controlled substances that were not based on valid prescriptions issued by a physician acting for a legitimate medical purpose and in the usual course of professional practice, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams announced. Napoli and Johnson also were convicted of conspiring to launder money internationally.
The jury convicted Napoli, Johnson and Carozza after hearing evidence that the men were members of an international criminal organization that distributed more than 4.4 million doses of controlled substances through the Internet pharmacy SafescriptsOnline, also known as PharmacyUSA.
Testimony during the six weeks of trial revealed that beginning in 2004 through 2006, customers selected drugs from the SafescriptsOnline and PharmacyUSA web sites. The criminal organization employed Joseph Carozza and other physicians to review the customers’ orders without conducting a physical examination, meeting or even speaking to the customers. Corrupt pharmacies located throughout the United States then filled the drug orders, knowing that they were based on invalid prescriptions written by doctors who were not acting in the usual course of professional medical practice and for a legitimate medical purpose. The evidence at trial showed that Joseph Carozza approved more than 184,000 drug orders for Napoli and Johnson during an eleven-month period, at one point approving more than 12,000 orders in a single day.
SafescriptsOnline generated more than $24 million in revenue from the sale of the controlled substances. The majority of the funds were laundered through international accounts in the form of transfers from credit card processors in Israel and Canada, as well as payments to marketing affiliates in India, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Panama, Antigua and the Dominican Republic. Napoli grossed more than $6 million, $500,000 of which he placed in accounts with the Asset Protection Group, an organization designed to shield its clients’ identities and protect their assets from seizure. Johnson, his wife and family business were paid more than $800,000 for developing the software that powered the illegal website and assisting with SafescriptsOnline’s daily operations. Carozza made more than $400,000 in 11 months, during which he reviewed more than 191,000 orders for drugs, approving 96 percent of them.
The defendants in this case are scheduled to be sentenced on February 22, 2013.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kirstin Ault and Tracie Brown, with assistance from Denise Oki, Rawaty Yim, and Rayneisha Booth, prosecuted this case. The convictions were the result of a six-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, San Francisco Field Division’s Financial Investigative Team. The prosecution is part of the Northern District of California United States Attorney’s Office’s Health Care Fraud program and was initiated as an investigation with the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force. Substantial assistance was provided by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy.