Las Vegas Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substances on the Internet
Las Vegas, Nev. - A Las Vegas man convicted of unlawfully selling prescription drugs and controlled substances over the Internet, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison today, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
CHRISTIAN FREDERIC FINZE, age 47, a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Bergkirchen, Germany, was convicted by a jury in October 2004 of 17 felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit various drug offenses, and money laundering. The sentence was handed down today by Chief U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro.
FINZE and co-defendant JOAN DAVIS, aka Joan Smith, also of Las Vegas, were originally indicted on May 22, 2002, on various counts of conspiracy, distribution and importation of controlled substances. The Indictment was later amended to include making false writings to a U.S. agency and money laundering. DAVIS pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and was sentenced to 37 months in prison on February 9, 2004.
"The successful prosecution of Mr. Finze and Ms. Davis should send a strong deterrent message that individuals who unlawfully distribute drugs over the Internet will be prosecuted and possibly sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "Consumers should also know that purchasing controlled substances from unlicensed persons without a valid prescription is unsafe and could threaten your life or the lives of others."
"Unlicensed operators who peddle controlled substances pose a serious threat to our communities," said Stephen Usiak, Resident Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Las Vegas. "Using the resources of ICE's Cyber Crimes Center and other law enforcement tools, we're committed to dismantling these schemes and protecting the nation's consumers."
According to court documents, from approximately October 6, 1998, to May 2, 2002, CHRISTIAN FINZE distributed prescription drugs over an Internet business known as the "Vince-Online" website and "Vinci American, Ltd." FINZE caused CFF Pharma Consult, a German business established by the defendant, to ship drugs from Germany to customers in the United States. The drugs were shipped through the use of forged and fraudulent documents designed to deceive employees of the U.S. Customs Service and FDA. The shipments included 7,360 units of Flunitrazepam, commonly known as Rohypnol and the "date rape drug," and prescribed and sold lawfully for the short-term treatment of insomnia and as a hypnotic medication. Flunitrazepam is not approved for manufacturing or distribution in the United States.
In sentencing CHRISTIAN FINZE, the Court also made findings that:
• FINZE was an organizer or leader of the criminal activity;
• A substantial portion of the fraudulent scheme was committed from outside the U.S.;
• The estimated value of the controlled substances was more than $400,000 but less than $1,000,000;
The Government is also seeking the forfeiture of CHRISTIAN FINZE's residence in Las Vegas and approximately $567,000 in U.S. Currency. The Court has not yet issued a decision in that regard.
The case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margaret Stanish and Thomas Dougherty.