BOSTON - An Illinois man was sentenced in federal court for illegally distributing prescription drugs and using the Internet to facilitate a drug crime.
Steven B. Immergluck, 36, of Aurora, Ill., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise J. Casper to one year probation and a $10,000 fine. He was ordered to home confinement for the first eight months of his probation. Immergluck pleaded guilty on June 28, 2011.
Had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that between September 2006 and October 2008, Immergluck was involved in a conspiracy to possess, distribute and dispense prescriptions that were issued outside of the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Immergluck distributed Phendimetrazine Tartrate, Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Lorazepam, Phentermine, Phentermine Blue, and Phentermine Yellow, among others, without valid prescriptions.
Immergluck was a sales representative for Freight Savers Express in Chicago (a reseller for the express mail package delivery service DHL) which handled the interstate delivery of drug orders for Internet pharmacy customers. Drugs were delivered to customers who did not have valid prescriptions for those drugs. Specifically, after customers completed online medical questionnaires, prescriptions were authorized without a doctor/patient relationship. The lack of either a doctor/patient relationship or a legitimate medical purpose for the medications made the prescriptions invalid and the shipments illegal.
Immergluck recruited Meetinghouse Community Pharmacy in Dorchester, Mass., which was the primary fulfillment pharmacy for Global Access and other Internet pharmacy operations located in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Between September 2006 and September 2008, more than 35,000 packages of Schedule III and Schedule IV prescription medications were ordered through Global Access and picked up at Meetinghouse by DHL. According to invoices attached to the email communications and bank records, Freight Savers received just under $475,000 for the deliveries of controlled and non-controlled substances for just this one Internet pharmacy enterprise. Immergluck knowingly and intentionally sent and received e-mail in order to facilitate the illegal activity.
In February 2012, the owner and pharmacist of Meetinghouse Community Pharmacy, Baldwin Ihenacho, was sentenced to 63 months for conspiring to dispense prescription drugs as part of two Internet pharmacy operations, including Global Access. He was also convicted of laundering the money obtained from the illegal businesses. In January 2012, Ihenacho’s wife, Gladys Ihenacho, was convicted after a jury trial of related drug and money laundering charges in connection with an Internet pharmacy operation and is currently awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Kevin L. Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Mark Dragonetti, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations/ New York Field Office; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation–Boston Field Division; and Robert Bethel, Postal Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary Elizabeth Carmody, Shelbey D. Wright, and Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Ortiz’s Health Care Fraud Unit.
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