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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Multi-agency Investigation Leads to Charges Against India Internet-Based Rx Drug Supplier

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Mumbai, India, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to misbrand and smuggle drugs, conspiracy to import Schedule IV controlled substances and money laundering, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The 14-count indictment named Ramesh Buchirajam Akkela, a/k/a Ramesh Bhai, 44, of Mumbai, India, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, Akkela, an Indian Internet-based supplier of prescription drugs - without prescriptions - to U.S. consumers, was charged with 10 counts of mail fraud, conspiracy to misbrand and smuggle drugs, conspiracy to import Schedule IV controlled substances and two counts of money laundering.

Except for the conspiracy counts, each of which is punishable by five years’ imprisonment, all the other counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years. Each money laundering count carries a maximum $500,000 fine, while $250,000 is the maximum fine for the remaining counts. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Leo M. Dillon is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Pennsylvania State Police and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated August 7, 2015