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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 25, 2019

Business Owner Found Guilty of Committing Fraud Regarding Human Clinical Research Trials

Richland Man Found Guilty of 47 Counts in Federal Court

Richland –William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Sami Anwar, 42, of Richland, WA, was found guilty late Friday of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, and 45 additional charged crimes including Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, Obtaining Controlled Substances Through Fraud, and Furnishing False Information to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

According to the Superseding Indictment on which Sami Anwar was found guilty of all counts, and the evidence presented during the three-week long trial, between 2013 and 2018 Sami Anwar headed a conspiracy to have his companies fraudulently pose as legitimate human clinical research trial sites and provided mountains of false clinical research trial data regarding drug safety and drug efficacy to dozens of drug companies and, through them, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The false clinical research data that Sami Anwar injected into the public health system included safety data on dozens of different drugs and medicines designed to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions including, but not limited to, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, pediatric illnesses, adolescent smoking, cirrhosis, scabies, depression, and opioid addiction to name just a few, according the evidence presented at trial. The evidence at trial indicated that Sami Anwar and his companies received over $5.6 million dollars from the fraud.

According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial, Sami Anwar, who is not a licensed medical doctor, would pose as a doctor and forge the signatures of the doctors he employed. In addition, over a dozen former employees of Sami Anwar testified that he directly instructed them to assist him in committing the fraud including falsifying medical records and data to admit dozens of ineligible research subjects; falsifying research data including electrocardiograms and vital signs, obtaining blood specimens from Sami Anwar’s employees or stealing them from unwitting medical patients of his medical center, disposing of study medications by shooting them down the drain and then falsely recording them as having been properly injected as required, dangerously hoarding opioids intended to be dispensed to study subjects, and fabricating required subject diary entries.

According to the evidence presented at trial and the Superseding Indictment, Sami Anwar not only directed the fraud but engaged in threats, retaliation, and intimidation in order to hide his crimes from drug companies, the FDA, which regulates human clinical trials in the United States, and law enforcement. At trial numerous former employees of Sami Anwar testified that Anwar filed false police reports, made false allegations to the Washington State Department of Health, the FDA, threatened them at their homes, at their places of work, slashed their tires, and stalked them in order to prevent them from cooperating with the authorities.

United States Attorney Hyslop stated, “Every day, Americans rely on the data from clinical research trials to keep us safe from deadly diseases and dangerous side effects. Injecting fraudulent and corrupt data into the system is an egregious breach of the trust and faith we all place in those who perform these vitally important trials.” Hyslop continued, “Based on the evidence presented at trial, and the jury’s unanimous verdict, Mr. Anwar profited from his blatant disregard for patient safety by running his fraudulent enterprise through fear and intimidation. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who continue to abuse this trust and undermine our health care system are brought to justice.”

Two of Sami Anwar’s companies, Zain Research LLC and Mid Columbia Research LLC, were also convicted of participating in the conspiracy.

After the jury delivered their unanimous verdict Senior Judge Edward F. Shea set sentencing for March 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in Richland, WA. Sami Anwar will remain in custody pending sentencing. The maximum term of incarceration for each count of fraud is 20 years in federal prison.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dan Fruchter and Tyler Tornabene. The case was investigated by DEA Diversion Investigators Craig Tom and Kevin Tripp. Subject matter expertise was provided by the Food and Drug Administration.

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud
Updated November 25, 2019