News and Press Releases

INTERNET PRESCRIPTION WEB SITE EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO ACQUIRING DRUGS BY SUBTERFUGE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2008

KATHLEEN GAIN, 31, of Auburn, Washington, appeared today in U.S. District Court in Seattle and entered a guilty plea to the felony offense of acquiring a controlled substance (hydrocodone) by misrepresentation, deception, and subterfuge, in violation of federal law. This offense is punishable by up to four years in prison, a two hundred fifty thousand dollar fine, and a period of supervised release of up to one year.

Court documents indicate that during 2007 through early 2008, GAIN worked for multiple internet pharmacy prescription drug web sites, including MYPRIMARYMD.com, PROGRESSIVEMEDICALCONSULTANTS.com and CHATCP.com. These web sites were acting in violation of law. The basic method of operation was that an individual would order prescription drugs on the web site, the web site would employ physicians to authorize the prescriptions, and the drugs would be delivered to the purchaser’s residence or the purchaser would pick up the drugs at a pharmacy. The physicians would never have any contact with the drug purchaser/customer. No patient examinations were ever conducted by the physicians. All of the prescriptions were illegitimate and unlawful, and the distributions of controlled substances were in violation of federal law. GAIN’s duties included receiving customer orders and forwarding those orders to others.

As part of her association with the web sites, GAIN also called into pharmacies prescriptions for herself and others, using doctors names, and the DEA numbers belonging to those doctors, in violation of law. On numerous occasions during 2007, and continuing until approximately January 2008, GAIN phoned in prescriptions to pharmacies located within the Western and the Eastern Districts of Washington, for quantities of hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance. GAIN provided the pharmacy with the name of a doctor used by the website and the DEA number of that doctor. GAIN called in such prescriptions for herself and for other members of her family. GAIN and the other family members traveled to the pharmacies and picked up the drugs which they then consumed. Neither GAIN, nor her family members, ever visited a physician who approved, or authorized such prescriptions based upon a medical examination or any valid course of medical treatment. Between May 2007 and January 2008, Ms. GAIN called in more than 100 such prescriptions for controlled substances.

In performing the above actions for herself and on behalf of the customers of these web sites, GAIN knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully acquired, and aided and abetted others in acquiring, a controlled substance by misrepresentation, deception, and subterfuge in violation of federal law.

GAIN is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Richard A. Jones on November 14, 2008.

National statistics show an increasing level of unlawful diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical controlled substances, including acquiring the drugs unlawfully over the internet. Individuals are reminded that it is a violation of federal law to acquire a controlled substance over the internet without a valid and lawful medical prescription.

This case is part of a continuing Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation focused upon the unlawful diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances within the Western District of Washington and elsewhere.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald J. Friedman.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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