LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has successfully secured permanent injunctions against two prolific online merchants for the unlicensed and illegal sale of misbranded and counterfeit pharmaceutical products to customers in the City of Los Angeles and beyond through their websites.
"Counterfeit and illegal pharmaceuticals pose a serious threat to public health and safety," said Feuer. "My office and our law enforcement partners will continue to bring those who prey upon some of our most vulnerable residents, and jeopardize their health, to justice."
In the first case, Catalina Campos and her husband Jose Vasquez used their former residence in North Hollywood to store and sell large amounts of illegal, misbranded and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. In October of 2017, the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) received information about a large number of packages coming to the home. An intercepted package to that address allegedly contained over 3,300 tablets. On October 26, 2017, a search warrant at the home allegedly led to the recovery of over 75,165 doses of illegal, misbranded and counterfeit pharmaceuticals including: Tramadol, anti-biotics like amoxicillin, counterfeit Cialis and counterfeit Viagra. Law enforcement also recovered $124,000 in cash and found evidence of multi-state drug distribution. Defendants and their company MAGIC BLUE LLC, operated a website (www.magicblueprodcutos.com) which sold vitamins and over the counter remedies from Mexico and South America. Neither defendant is a pharmacist.
The court placed the defendants under a permanent injunction prohibiting them from selling, possessing or advertising illicit or counterfeit drugs or devices. The defendants are also prohibited from any internet sales or advertising related to pharmaceuticals, herbal remedies, or over the counter medicines and must immediately stop operating their website and turn over registration and control of the website including passwords. The defendants were also ordered to pay $75,000 in civil penalties as well as $15,000 in investigative costs and $5,000 in attorney’s fees to the Office of the City Attorney.
In the second case, Yuri Korchinsky and Yelizaveta Korchinskaya were both the subject of two undercover HALT operations and two search warrants which determined that for the past four years, the defendants had used their website to knowingly advertise and sell dangerous misbranded, illegal and counterfeit pharmaceuticals including powerful and dangerous drugs to treat serious medical conditions including asthma, autoimmune disorders, bacterial infections, erectile dysfunction, gastronomical disorders, hormonal disorders, mental disorders and general pain. Investigators believe the defendants committed at least 3,926 violations for the sale of dangerous pharmaceuticals without being licensed to do so.
The court placed the defendants under permanent injunction prohibiting the sale or possession of any prescription drugs. The defendants are also prohibited from using or allowing public access to their website or creating any additional internet website to advertise, promote or offer for sale any counterfeit or illegal pharmaceutical products.
The defendants were also assessed a civil penalty of $2,500 for each of the 3,926 alleged violations as well as any future costs related to enforcement of the judgment of $9,815,000.
The City Attorney’s efforts against online sales of counterfeit and banned pharmaceuticals are part of an ongoing partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department's Piracy Unit. The Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT), assisted with the investigation and is comprised by members of the Los Angeles County Health Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and a licensed pharmacist. The task force investigates health care-related crimes including the manufacture, sale and distribution of illegal, misbranded and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Many of these products include drugs bearing non-English labels, drugs without lot numbers, warnings or expiration dates, and drugs not in original packaging.
Supervising City Attorney Kevin Gilligan, of the City Attorney’s Anti-Counterfeit Enforcement Program, successfully secured the injunctions and civil penalties.