Houston Businessman Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Conspiracy
A Houston, Texas, man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit money laundering, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas.
According to documents and information provided to the court, Marcus T. Weathersby conspired with others to facilitate the fraudulent sale of second-hand prescription medications to a Utah-based wholesale distributor. This scheme involved purchasing bottles of prescription medications from illegitimate sources and then selling the medications to another wholesale distributor who then sold them to pharmacies as new. Federal regulation requires wholesale distributors of prescription medications to provide to a buyer a pedigree – a written statement identifying each prior sale, purchase, or trade of the drugs being sold that includes the business name and information of all parties to the prior transactions, starting with the manufacturer.
As part of his plea, Weathersby admitted that in approximately December 2010, he established, Acacia Pharma Distributors Inc. (Acacia), a Mississippi corporation. Nearly eight months later, Weathersby directed another individual to incorporate Four Corner Suppliers Inc. (Four Corner) in Mississippi. Acacia and Four Corner purported to be legitimate wholesale distributors of pharmaceuticals licensed and operating in Mississippi, however, in reality Weathersby and others used these corporations to facilitate the illegal sale of second-hand prescription drugs.
Weathersby also opened and caused others to open bank accounts in the names of Acacia and Four Corner. Between February 2011 and July 2012, Weathersby withdrew and led others to withdraw over $2.9 million in cash from these bank accounts and to structure these cash withdrawals in amounts under $10,000 in order to prevent the banks from complying with their legal obligation to prepare currency transaction reports for each cash transaction over $10,000.
U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Nancy K. Johnson scheduled sentencing for May 30. Weathersby faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as a period of supervised release and monetary penalties. Weathersby further agreed to the imposition of a money judgement against him in the amount of $2,991,867.76.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Patrick thanked agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Department of Agriculture, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Sean Beaty and Terri-Lei O’Malley of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.