11 November – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, U…

11 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 today that defendant, RICHARD E. COX, Jr., 42, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, was convicted on his plea of guilty before United States District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks, 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.

According to the criminal charges and Court records, Cox was a former sales representative for a division of Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon Endosurgery, Inc., a company specializing in the development and distribution of prescription medical devices for use in surgical procedures. His employment allowed him access to an extensive supply of Ethicon devices, with little accountability or oversight.

From approximately January 1998 through May 2002, Cox participated in a conspiracy with an individual and company located in Delray Beach, Florida, F 7 S Medical, Inc. (F&S). F&S, through its principal, solicited sales representatives and other employees of medical device manufacturers, seeking to purchase medical devices for re-sale. It was part of the conspiracy that Cox, without the authorization of Ethicon, secured control and possession of significant quantities of the prescription medical devices and sold them to F&S for personal gain by shipping the devices to a mail drop address in Delray Beach. According to statements in court, there were 100 such transactions.

Sentencing before District Court Judge Middlebrooks has been set for January 26, 2006 at 2:30 p.m. in Miami. Cox faces a potential prison sentence of up to five years, a fine up to twice the gain of the illegal conduct, and possible restitution. As part of the Plea Agreement in the case, Cox has agreed to the entry of an order of restitution by the Court, to the victim Ethicon, in the amount of the profit he realized from the criminal conduct, which the government identified as approximately $716,616.73.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Food and Drug Administration which have led to convictions in twelve such cases, thus far in the investigation, and fines, forfeitures, and restitution of more than $3.18 million. These cases are being 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 .

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