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Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
04/01/2016

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Rhode Island man sentenced for trafficking in counterfeit Viagra

Rhode Island man sentenced for trafficking in counterfeit Viagra

BOSTON - A Pawtucket, R.I. man was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston for trafficking in counterfeit prescription medications following a joint investigation led by (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Ricky Lugo, 49, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to a year and a day in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $104,239.  In Oct 2015, he was charged with four counts of trafficking in counterfeit versions of erectile dysfunction medications, including Pfizer Inc.’s Viagra, Eli Lilly’s Cialis, and Bayer’s Levitra. 

From June 2013 to March 2014, Lugo sold counterfeit Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra on Craigslist and in person.  Lugo purchased the counterfeit pharmaceuticals from sources outside the United States, including China.  Lugo knew that the goods he was selling were counterfeit, but nonetheless sold and attempted to sell thousands of the tablets.

Judge Gorton said that Lugo’s crime was serious, and that it was important that he be punished as a form of general deterrence to others that might consider selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals on the Internet.  Judge Gorton noted that but for the extenuating circumstances of Lugo’s medical condition, he would have sentenced him to a longer term of imprisonment.

Homeland Security Investigations is a founding member of the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPRCC). Founded in 2000, the IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The center uses the expertise of its 23 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft.

Shoppers who may have purchased products online that were unusually packaged, missing approval stickers from independent safety organizations or stitched poorly with faded colors and misspelled words may have inadvertently bought counterfeit goods. They are advised to review return policies, and contact the website for more information. If returning the item is not an option, then contact your bank to see if they offer any type of fraud protection, and report the crime through the ICE Tip Line 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/04/2016