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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Miami Doctor Pleads Guilty to Pharmaceutical Fraud and Money Laundering

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that DR. RAFAEL PRATS, age 62, a resident of Miami, Florida pled guilty yesterday to a twelve-count Indictment charging him with 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 of Louisiana, and Marea Distributors, LLC of 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. 

PRATS faces a possible penalty of up to 15 years in prison for Count 1,  Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Medical Products, and a fine of up to $250,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person.   For Counts 2 through 11, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Wire Fraud, Aiding and Abetting, PRATS faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person.  For Count 12, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, PRATS faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person.  He also faces up to three years of supervised release and a mandatory $100.00 special assessment fee for each count. U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman set sentencing for December 14. 2016.

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

 

Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Updated August 26, 2016