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Press Release

Co-Owner Of St. Jude's Pharmacy In Cape Coral Sentenced To 3 Years For Structuring Bank Deposits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Fort Myers, Florida - U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell yesterday sentenced Martha Otano (43, Cape Coral) to 3 years and 1 month in prison and $7,500 in fines for making structured cash deposits of proceeds of illegal activity in order to evade bank currency transaction reporting requirements. As part of her sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $1,307,000, the amount of drug proceeds structured into various banks. Otano was also ordered to forfeit her interest in a 2013 Mercedes Benz, a 2012 Chevrolet truck, and approximately $860,376.79 in seized funds, in partial satisfaction of the money judgment. Law enforcement seized these assets and executed search warrants at St. Jude’s Pharmacy and at Otano’s home in Cape Coral, on November 15, 2012. Martha Otano was a registered pharmacy technician and co-owner of St. Jude’s Pharmacy in Cape Coral. She was indicted on June 26, 2013.

According to court documents, from at least April 2011 to at least November 15, 2012, in Lee County, Martha Otano and her husband (Jorge Otano) participated in a conspiracy involving repeated structured cash deposits into bank accounts for the purpose of evading bank transaction reporting requirements. Martha Otano admitted to conspiring to structure approximately $1,307,000.00 in cash deposits into three bank accounts that she controlled with her husband. Martha Otano also admitted that she and her husband made structured deposits from the proceeds of the distribution of Oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice at St. Jude’s Pharmacy, which they owned and operated. Martha Otano and her husband did not deposit all of the cash that they had at the time of receipt. Rather, they acquired one sum of cash at one time, and divided it into amounts less than $10,000.00 so that it would not trigger the filing of a Currency Transaction Report (CTR). St. Jude’s Pharmacy made a significant profit through the illegal distribution and sale of Oxycodone as fraudulent prescriptions for Oxycodone were routinely filled at St. Jude's Pharmacy in exchange for cash. Martha Otano and her husband used the proceeds from the pharmacy to purchase two homes in Cape Coral and the two seized vehicles.

Jorge Otano has pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him in this case. He is scheduled for trial during the November 2014 trial term.

An indictment is merely a formal charged that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David G. Lazarus and Yolande G. Viacava.

Updated January 26, 2015