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Press Release

Alachua County Man Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Operating Illegal Internet Pharmacy

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

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Larry Burstein, 69, of Alachua, Florida, was sentenced yesterday to 48 months in prison after pleading guilty in November 2016, to involvement in a drug conspiracy arising from his operation of a multi-million dollar internet pharmacy. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.


Co-conspirator Edward Leonforte, 56, of Gainesville, pled guilty in September 2016 to conspiracy, distribution of the controlled substance codeine, and money laundering. Leonforte is scheduled to be sentenced September 25, 2017, at 3:30 p.m.


Leonforte and Burstein operated multiple internet pharmacy websites from various locations in the Alachua, Florida area. Between 2007 and 2014, Burstein’s websites sold more than $7 million in prescription drugs without requiring customers to provide a prescription. Through his website, Burstein made nationwide sales of more than 148,000 pills containing codeine, a Schedule II opiate. On several occasions in 2012 and 2013, an undercover DEA agent was able to order and receive codeine pills from Burstein’s websites without providing a prescription.


This case resulted from a joint investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the Alachua Police Department, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the Ocala Police Department, the Florida Department of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Jason S. Beaton is prosecuting the case.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

Updated August 29, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud