Drug trafficking charges target Pennsylvania business owner

In 2012, a man who owns pharmacies in Palmer Township and Hellertown became the subject of a federally led operation that sought to target online drug sales. On Oct. 16, the man entered a guilty plea to the charge of providing prescription drugs to patients who lacked valid prescriptions. One of the pharmacist's businesses was raided by a federal task force in November 2012, and the man and nine of his associates were subsequently indicted on seven separate charges.

The indictment alleged that the man had illegally distributed painkillers, migraine headache medicine and muscle relaxers via online pharmacies. Prosecutors said that even though the patients who bought these products had their cases reviewed remotely by physicians, the practice still violated regulations that require face-to-face visits. In admitting to the drug crimes, the man entered an agreement with prosecutors that will result in his forfeiture of $321,000. One of his associates also pleaded guilty and will pay $404,000.

Reports said that a Plainfield woman who managed a pair of the pharmacies would be charged later. The business owner allegedly remains on probation that prohibits him from operating as a pharmacist. The man's attorney said that he would ask the judge not to sentence his client to imprisonment and that the pharmacist's violation of the law was a technical issue.

Criminal allegations against business owners can make things difficult on a personal level, but these charges also have the potential to ruin other aspects of their lives. The businesses that accused individuals operate may suffer from negative publicity or fines that critically reduce their operating capabilities. Attorneys who can help investigate case particulars, file appeals and negotiate plea bargains may help these individuals minimize the fallout associated with being charged.

Source: The Morning Call, "Lehigh Valley pharmacy owner admits role in online drug sales", Peter Hall, October 18, 2013

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