You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Two Plead Guilty in Multimillion Dollar Internet Pharmacy Case

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Edward Leonforte, 55, of Gainesville, and Larry Burstein, 69, of Alachua, Florida, have pled guilty in a multimillion dollar internet pharmacy case.  On September 13, Leonforte pled guilty to conspiracy, distribution of the controlled substance codeine, and money laundering.  Burstein pled guilty today to conspiracy.  The guilty pleas were announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Leonforte and Burstein operated multiple internet pharmacy websites from a Progress Park rental space in Alachua, Florida, and sold substantial quantities of prescription drugs without requiring customers to provide a prescription.  Between 2013 and 2015 through freeworldpharmacy.com, Leonforte’s business sold more than $7.5 million in pharmaceuticals, including more than $385,000 in generic codeine in 2015 alone.  On several occasions in 2012 and 2013, an undercover DEA law enforcement agent was able to order and receive hundreds of codeine pills from the freeworldpharmacy.com and medsindia.net websites without providing a prescription.

The defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison.  Leonforte’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 4, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville.  Burstein’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 3, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.

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 http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer
(850) 216-3854, amy.alexander@usdoj.gov

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud
Updated November 17, 2016