Federal Investigation Leads to Indictment in Rogue Internet Drug Site Extortion Scam

An indictment names 11 defendants, all citizens of the Dominican Republic, charged with crimes related to extorting money from United States citizens who had purchased drugs from rogue Internet sites. As reported in a Department of Justice news release, “the 11 defendants are charged with participating in a scheme to defraud victims by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. After selling the drugs to the victims, members of the criminal organization then posed as agents of the United States government, told victims that they were under investigation, and threatened their arrest unless they made payments via wire transfer to individuals in the Dominican Republic.” Hundreds of US citizens submitted complaints about the scheme and Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) collaborated in the investigation that led to the indictment. If convicted, those indicted could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for each count of wire fraud and a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for conspiracy. NABP reported on the extortion scam and related FDA warnings in December 29, 2009 NABP e-News, January 6, 2010 NABP e-News, and January 20, 2011 NABP e-News.

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