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Intellectual Property Rights
08/16/2012

Florida man sentenced to prison for trafficking counterfeit Viagra and Cialis

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida man was sentenced Wednesday to eight months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $149,000 in restitution for trafficking in counterfeit goods. He must also serve three years of supervised release. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, investigated this case.

According to court documents, Gregory Bochter, 40, of Port Orange, Fla., distributed hundreds of parcels containing counterfeit erectile dysfunction tablets. Bochter obtained counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets from two companies located outside the United States. Bochter contacted the companies via email, and placed orders and made payments via the Internet. The companies then sent the counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets to Bochter, who packaged and mailed them to individuals located in the United States.

On Oct. 18, 2010, HSI special agents seized a parcel containing 1,312 counterfeit Viagra tablets. Bochter was attempting to import these tablets into the United States from China. The Viagra tablets contained only 30 percent of the active ingredient of a legitimate Viagra tablet. On Oct. 25, 2010, Bochter was notified that the seized parcel contained counterfeit tablets, but he continued to distribute them. From Oct. 26, 2010, to Dec. 15, 2010, Bochter sent approximately 640 parcels, estimated to contain 107,016 counterfeit Viagra and Cialis tablets. The estimated manufacturer's suggested retail price of those tablets was $2.25 million.

"People trust that the medications they're taking are indeed what the label indicates," said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "HSI conducts intellectual property rights investigations to ensure the health and safety of our public. Remember if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is not the true product. Consumers should only purchase products, especially those purchased online, from verified and trusted suppliers."

This investigation was initiated after HSI Houston conducted an undercover operation where special agents made several purchases of counterfeit Cialis from companies outside the United States. HSI Houston special agents determined that someone in the Cocoa Beach-area was receiving the counterfeit pharmaceuticals and distributing them to customers within the United States utilizing the U.S. Postal Service. In May 2010, HSI Cocoa Beach opened a criminal investigation to locate that individual who was trafficking in counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

Bochter pleaded guilty May 16 to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods or services in violation of Title 18 U.S. Code 2320.