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Press Release

St. Jude's Pharmacy Owner & Wife Indicted On Federal Charges

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

Fort Myers, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the return of an indictment charging Cape Coral residents Jorge Otano (51) and his wife, Martha Otano (41). Jorge Otano, the owner of the former St. Jude's Pharmacy in Cape Coral, is charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and for other than legitimate medical purposes. In addition, Jorge and Martha Otano (vice-president of the former St. Jude's Pharmacy) are both charged with conspiring to evade the reporting requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act, as part of a pattern of illegal activity involving more than $100,000 in a 12-month period. They are each also charged with three substantive counts of structuring transactions to evade the reporting requirements.

If convicted of conspiring to distribute a controlled substance, Jorge Otano faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison. If convicted of conspiring to structure deposits to evade reporting requirements, they each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Each structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies both that the United States intends to forfeit $750,525.17 that was seized during the course of the investigation, computer equipment used to facilitate the crime, a house in Cape Coral, and two vehicles which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense. In addition, the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $430,000.00, as additional proceeds of the crimes charged in the indictment.

According to the indictment, Jorge and Martha Otano were registered pharmacy technicians and operators of St. Jude's Pharmacy in Cape Coral. From approximately August 2009 until November 15, 2012, Jorge Otano conspired with others to possess with intent to distribute, and distribute oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice and for other than legitimate medical purposes. In addition, Jorge and Martha Otano made cash deposits, including deposits of illegal proceeds, into domestic financial institutions in amounts of $10,000 or less in order to avoid triggering bank reporting requirements. The Otanos allegedly made multiple deposits below the reporting requirement at multiple banks on the same day and at the same branch on successive days. The indictment alleges that they made in excess of $100,000 in structured cash deposits in one year.

An indictment is merely a formal charge 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 will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David G. Lazarus and Yolande G. Viacava.

Updated January 26, 2015