SAN DIEGO – A Florida man faces federal charges for operating an illicit pharmaceutical scheme out of his home that sold more than $7 million of unapproved and misbranded oncology drugs at a substantial discount to doctors in the United States through a San Diego pharmacy.
Martin Paul Bean III, 62, of Boca Raton, Fla., was arraigned on Friday on a 35-count federal indictment for conspiracy to import unapproved, misbranded oncology drugs from foreign countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and India. According to court documents, from 2005 to 2011, the drugs were shipped in bulk to GlobalRXStore in San Diego and distributed to doctors throughout the U.S.
The charges follow a multiagency investigation conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
“This investigation uncovered a very serious public health threat and should serve as a warning to those who put consumers at risk for their own financial gain,” said Derek Benner, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “HSI special agents will work with their law enforcement partners here and abroad to prevent imposter drugs from being distributed via unregulated pharmaceutical supply chains.”
The indictment accuses Bean of wire fraud, mail fraud, selling unapproved and misbranded drugs, illegal importation, and money laundering. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $7 million in illicit proceeds and a Jaguar XJ. If convicted of all charges, Bean faces up to 131 years in federal prison.
According to the indictment, Bean and his co-conspirators operated a call-center in Winnipeg, Canada, where doctors submitted orders for oncology drugs by phone, fax and email. The orders were filled at GlobalRXStore and mailed to the doctors with an invoice from a California wholesale pharmacy to create the false impression the drugs were approved for use in the United States.
In a separate, but related criminal complaint, Idriss Maher, owner of Oberlin Medical Supply and Service Corporation in San Diego, which had a California-issued drug wholesale license, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in March for his role in the scheme. The 51-year-old’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 7, 2013.
Idriss admitted to receiving and storing foreign oncology drugs, and later shipping them to doctors in the U.S. who placed orders with GlobalRXStore. After receiving payments from the doctors, Idriss transferred the funds to the foreign suppliers and to the GlobalRXStore owner’s bank account in Canada, keeping a portion for himself.