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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Friday, September 12, 2014

Canadian National Pleads Guilty To Illegally Importing Prescription Drugs Into The United States

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Tainan, Taiwan, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States, money laundering, and wire and mail fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Taimur Khan, 32 and a Canadian national, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon. Khan had been arrested on July 15, 2014 at Los Angeles International Airport upon his attempted entry into the United States.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from 2004 to August, 2014, Javed Sunesra, Zuned Sunesra, and Bismilla Sunesra conspired amongst themselves and with others to import prescription drugs into the United States from India. The drugs sold by the Sunesras were not FDA approved, were not approved for sale in the United States, and were not authentic. Further, no prescription was required to obtain these drugs. Over the years, the Sunesras netted millions of dollars from their illegal enterprise. Zuned Sunesra has pled not guilty to the charges against him. Javed and Bismilla Sunesra remain at-large in India.

In early 2012, Khan joined the Sunesra’s conspiracy, and continued to work with the Sunesras until late 2013. At the time Khan joined the conspiracy, the Sunesras were having trouble obtaining payment processing for their illegal business. This presented a problem, as most consumers purchased the drugs over the Internet with a Mastercard or Visa. Hence, payment processing was a requirement for the business to remain in operation. As a result, Khan set up a fake website called “mygiftcard.biz.” The purpose of mygiftcard.biz was to make it appear to the payment processors that Khan was selling “gift cards” for merchants such as the Gap and JC Penny. In reality, the “gift cards” that Khan sold were being immediately redeemed for illegal drugs. This allowed consumers to continue to use credit cards to purchase illegal medications. This act also constituted wire and mail fraud.

Once the consumer paid for the gift card, Khan had the money from the purchase sent to him in Canada, and from there, after he subtracted his “commission,” he wired the remaining proceeds to Javed and Zuned Sunesra at their bank accounts located at the State Bank of Mauritius. After this transaction was completed, the consumer was shipped their drug product.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for Jan. 7, 2015 at 10 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Pending sentencing, the court continued the detention of Taimur Khan.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric S. Rosen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The Food and Drug Administration and the Internal Revenue Service conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Taimur Khan.

Updated July 14, 2015