A Florida man pleaded guilty today to distributing at least $16.7 million of adulterated HIV drugs that were ultimately dispensed to unsuspecting patients throughout the country.
According to court documents, Armando Herrera, 43, of Miami, and his co-conspirators established companies in Florida, Texas, Washington, and California that they used to sell and distribute adulterated prescription drugs, primarily HIV medications, to wholesale pharmaceutical suppliers. Herrera and his co-conspirators created false documentation to make it appear as though the drugs were acquired legitimately when, in fact, they were not. The pharmaceutical suppliers then sold the drugs to pharmacies, which dispensed the adulterated prescription drugs to unwitting patients.
Herrera pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to introduce adulterated and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 21 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in person. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Regional Office; Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Atlanta Region; and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office made the announcement.
HHS-OIG, FDIC-OIG, and the FBI are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Alexander Thor Pogozelski of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marx P. Calderón for the Southern District of Florida is handling asset forfeiture.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 25 federal districts, has charged more than 5,000 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $24 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.
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