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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Doctor Sentenced in Pharmaceutical Fraud Case

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that DR. RAFAEL PRATS, age 64, a resident of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to three years probation today after previously pleading guilty to a twelve-count indictment charging conspiracy to commit theft of medical products, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents, beginning sometime prior to December 2012, PRATS and others conspired to use Marea Distributors and Logistics, LLC, in Louisiana and Marea Distributors, LLC, in Florida to fraudulently re-sell diverted pharmaceuticals.  Working together, the defendants would collect dispensed drugs of known and unknown origin, counterfeit drugs, expired drugs, and drugs not authorized for resale and then fraudulently reintroduce them into the pre-retail, wholesale market for eventual sale under false pretenses to pharmacies and end users.  According to court documents PRATS served as a broker in obtaining the diverted pharmaceuticals from various sources.

Among other things, the defendants would create and scan fraudulent invoices and send them from Marea Distributors in Florida to Marea Distributors & Logistics in Louisiana by email.  In Louisiana, Marea Distributors & Logistics would then send the fraudulent invoices by email from Louisiana to wherever the diverted pharmaceuticals were shipped.  When necessary, Marea Distributors & Logistics in Louisiana would create invoices for the products and email them to customers who were making purchases.    

During the course of the conspiracy the defendants opened or caused to be opened bank accounts in the names of various entities, including Marea Distributors & Logistics and Marea Distributors.  The defendants used those accounts to deposit the proceeds obtained from the sale of diverted pharmaceuticals and then to further distribute those proceeds to bank accounts controlled by them. 

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Miami Dade Police Department in investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Theodore R. Carter, III and David Haller were in charge of the prosecution.

Updated April 18, 2018