1 November – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and David W. Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office, announced that defendant, STEVEN NEUHARTH, 38, of Savage, Minnesota, was sentenced today in a criminal case arising out of a Miami-based FDA investigation named Operation Miami Device. Thus far, Operation Miami Device has led to convictions in ten (10) cases of medical device theft with charges pending in four additional cases, and has resulted in forfeitures, fines, and restitution totaling over $1.4 million.
Neuharth was sentenced before United States District Court Judge Paul Huck, in Miami, Florida, for his role in a conspiracy to transport and sell in interstate commerce various prescription medical devices, knowing the devices to have been stolen, converted, or taken by fraud and to impede and obstruct the lawful and legitimate functions of the FDA in enforcing federal laws and regulations applicable to prescription medical devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.
Judge Huck sentenced Neuharth to ten months in custody, five months to be served in prison and five months in home confinement with electronic monitoring. In addition, Neuharth was ordered to forfeit a total of $81,078.76, an amount equal to his gain in the criminal conspiracy, and to serve two years of supervised release after his confinement, during which he must perform a total of 300 hours of community service.
According to court records and statements at the hearing, from approximately January 1998 through August, 2002, Neuharth participated in a conspiracy with others in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and elsewhere, and an individual identified as James Vogt, who was the principal behind a company located in Evergreen, Colorado, and later in Miami, Florida. Vogt, operating under a variety of company names, including ISSI, solicited sales representatives of medical device manufacturers, seeking to purchase medical devices for re-sale. It was part of the conspiracy that Neuharth and the coconspirators, without the authorization of Ethicon, secured control and possession of significant quantities of the prescription medical devices which were sold to Vogt.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Food and Drug Administration. These cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Watts-FitzGerald.
A copy of all press releases may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .