New York Man Arrested On Charges He Conspired With Others Involving Sales Of Illegally Diverted Prescription Drugs
Public Affairs Officer
COLUMBUS – Federal agents arrested Albert Nassar, 58, of New York City on January 28 based on a federal indictment from Cincinnati charging him with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the illegal sale of prescription drugs bearing false pedigrees that misrepresented the sources and origins of the drugs.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Antoinette Henry, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and Dugan Wong, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced the indictment returned on January 22.
The indictment alleges that Nassar, the owner of Worldwide Management Consultants, Inc., participated with others in a scheme between 2007 and 2009 to obtain prescription drugs from various illicit or unknown sources – known as diverted drugs – and then resell the drugs to unwitting wholesale drug companies using false pedigrees. The false pedigrees showed legitimate authorized distributors as the source of the drugs, when, the indictment alleges, the drugs were obtained outside lawful channels.
Other conspirators included Michael Schoenwald, 60, a Hollywood, Florida-based urologist, and Gregory Pfizenmayer, 45, the owner of G & D Enterprises in Foley, Alabama. As part of the conspiracy, Schoenwald obtained Lupron, an injectable drug used to treat prostate cancer, from the manufacturer at discount rates due to his status as a health care provider. Federal law prohibits the resale of such drugs by health care providers. Nassar allegedly directed Schoenwald to ship the Lupron to Pfizenmayer, who in turn sold the drugs to wholesale drug companies, providing false pedigrees that concealed the illicit source of the drugs.
Other prescription drugs allegedly involved in the conspiracy included Procrit, used to treat anemia in patients with kidney failure, and Neulasta, used to prevent infections in patients undergoing chemotherapy. The drugs were shipped with the false pedigrees by mail to drug wholesalers in New Jersey, Mississippi and Ohio, and each conspirator received payments including by wire transfer.
An initial appearance for Nassar was held in the Southern District of New York on the day he was arrested. Nassar was released on bond and ordered to appear before U.S. District Judge Karen L. Litkovitz in Cincinnati at 1:30 p.m. on February 6, 2014
Pfizenmayer pleaded guilty on February 2, 2011 and Schoenwald pleaded guilty on February 16, 2012. Both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $2,703,840.93 from Nassar, which represents the proceeds of the fraud.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the FDA and Postal Inspectors, and Senior Litigation Counsel Anne Porter, who is prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.