Pakistan National Indicted In Multi-National Cybercrime Investigation
CONCORD, N.H. –Mustafa H. Arif, an individual with dual citizenship in Pakistan and the United Kingdom, has been indicted for his alleged role in a large-scale international scheme to defraud individuals of over $12 million. Arif is alleged to have operated a series of websites promoting a variety of drugs and claiming these products would cure many serious diseases. These websites targeted individuals from New Hampshire as well as throughout the world, announced Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith.
Arif has been charged in a three count indictment, including one count of wire fraud and two counts of shipping misbranded drugs in Interstate Commerce. The charges relate to hundreds of websites controlled by Arif while operating in Pakistan. The websites promoted the sale of drugs claiming to cure, mitigate, and treat numerous diseases and included materially false and misleading information about the efficacy of these drugs.
The websites, many of which included allegedly falsified clinical research, promoted drugs for a numbers of serious and sometimes incurable illnesses including anemia, mental retardation, ADHD, Bell’s palsy, and bulimia.
Arif, who appeared in United States District Court today for arraignment, was previously arrested in February 2014 in New York City pursuant to a criminal complaint. He was thereafter transported to New Hampshire to answer those charges and he has remained in custody since then.
This case is scheduled for trial on June 16, 2015. If convicted on the pending charges, Arif faces up to twenty (20) years in prison for the wire fraud count and up to three (3) years in prison for each count of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
This investigation was led by the FDA/Office of Criminal Investigations, Cybercrime Investigations Unit along with Homeland Security Investigations. Assistance during the investigation was provided by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, Portsmouth New Hampshire Police Department, the United States Consulate, Diplomatic Security Service Lagos, Nigeria office, New Zealand Ministry of Health, United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, and the Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs. The investigation is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold Huftalen and SAUSA Sarah Hawkins of the FDA/Office of Chief Counsel.
An indictment is a method for alleging criminal charges against an individual. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.