Orlando Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in Large Scale Internet Pill Mill Schemes out of Florida, Missouri and Ohio
Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Anthony Trawick (32, Orlando) today pleaded guilty to conspiracies charged in three separate cases out of the Middle District of Florida (MDFL), the Western District of Missouri and the Northern District of Ohio. The cases charged in Missouri and Ohio were recently transferred to the MDFL. In each of the three cases, Trawick pled guilty to conspiracy to dispense and distribute hydrocodone (and alprazolam in the cases charged in Missouri and Ohio), based on prescriptions issued outside the usual course of professional practice. In the Ohio and Missouri cases, he also pled guilty to conspiracies to commit money laundering offenses. Trawick faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for the drug conspiracies charged in Florida and Missouri, and twenty years in federal prison for the drug conspiracy charged in Ohio. He faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison on each of the money laundering conspiracies.
According to the plea agreements, Trawick has agreed to forfeit money judgments in the amount of $690,205 (in the Tampa case); $169,976 (in the Missouri case); and $278,062 (in the Ohio case), all representing the amount of proceeds he had obtained as a result of his participation in the conspiracies.
According to the Tampa plea agreement, between Fall 2004 and October 2007, the organization that Trawick participated in was responsible for illegally distributing in excess of 50 million hydrocodone pills to customers located throughout the United States. Customers placed orders on various internet pill mill websites owned and operated by Trawick and others, including Juan Antonio Ibanez and Barry Robert Brooks. (Ibanez and Brooks were previously charged in case number 8:07-Cr-537-T-17MAP). Through these internet pill mill websites, Trawick and other co-conspirators advertised hydrocodone using forms of mass marketing. Customers could access one of the websites, fill out a brief questionnaire, select the type and dosage of hydrocodone desired, and sometimes submit medical records purporting to document the medical condition for which the customer was seeking hydrocodone. After a brief consultation with someone connected to the website, the cost of the drugs and a consultation fee would be charged to the customer's credit card.
Also, according to the Tampa plea agreement, Trawick, Ibanez, Brooks and others recruited several physicians from around the country, primarily Florida, but also in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana to review the medical records and/or questionnaires, and then allow their scanned signatures and DEA Controlled Substance Registration numbers to be used on thousands of orders purporting to be prescriptions for hydrocodone. They also recruited and used several independent pharmacies located in the MDFL and elsewhere within the United States, to fill the purported prescriptions and to ship the hydrocodone to customers throughout the United States, including the MDFL.
According to the Western District of Missouri plea agreement and other court documents, from 2005 through October 17, 2007, Trawick provided the business model, and recruited physicians, physician assistants, and pharmacies to work for pill mill websites owned and operated by co-conspirators Anthony and Arcelia Holman (charged in Western District of Missouri case number 08-03091/07-CR-s-DGK) to illegally distribute, via the internet, a combined total of more than one million doses of hydrocodone and alprazolam. According to the Northern District of Ohio plea agreement, from early 2005 through September 2007, Trawick conspired with James Hazelwood and numerous other co-conspirators, including pharmacy owners, pharmacists and physicians, to distribute more than four million doses of powerful and addictive pain killers (hydrocodone) and anti-anxiety pills (alprazolam) via the internet to customers in the Northern District of Ohio and throughout the United States.
The cases were jointly investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathy J.M. Peluso and Anita Cream (Middle District of Florida), Kathleen D. Mahoney (Western District of Missouri), and Rebecca Lutzko and Edward Feran (Northern District of Ohio).