16 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and David W. Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, announced today that defendants, Charles Williams, a/k/a “Charles Rocha Nefwani,” a/k/a “Jose Rocha Nomani,” and William Walker, a/k/a “Per Loyning,” were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for their roles in using a humanitarian aid organization, known as African Christian Relief, to obtain pharmaceutical products at steep discounts from Schein Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which the defendants claimed would be sent overseas to Angola and Peru for relief services. Rather than send the pharmaceutical products to those countries, the drugs were diverted and sold on the domestic secondary market. The co-conspirators made more than $1 million dollars in profits, which they subsequently laundered. Two (2) other indicted co-conspirators are currently fugitives.
Williams was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan, in Miami, Florida, to terms of imprisonment of sixty-three (63) months and supervised release of three (3) years. Walker was sentenced by Judge Jordan to terms of imprisonment of seventy-eight (78) months and supervised release of three (3) years. Both Williams and Walker also were ordered to pay, jointly and severally, $1,763,227 in restitution to Watson Pharma, Inc. (formerly Schein Pharmaceuticals, Inc.).
Williams was the executive director of African Christian Relief (ACR), a charity based in Tuscon, Arizona. Between November of 1999 and January of 2000, Williams ordered eight (8) shipments of pharmaceuticals, which he represented to be destined for humanitarian relief in Angola. In truth and in fact, Williams was using ACR as a front to obtain these pharmaceuticals at steeply discounted prices, knowing that the drugs would never be sent to Angola for humanitarian aid. Instead, the drugs were shipped to a warehouse from which Walker and another co-conspirator obtained the drugs. Those discounted drugs, earmarked for humanitarian purposes, were then repackaged and shipped to secondary wholesalers locally, as well as in Nevada. Walker and a co-conspirator conducted these transactions, in part, through their company, Crystal Coast, Inc., which was located in Miami, Florida. Crystal Coast did not possess a pharmaceutical license to handle pharmaceutical drugs at that time, and thus, Walker and a co-conspirator fraudulently used a different company’s license to conduct some of the transactions.
As part of this complex scheme, in order to transfer purchase money for the drugs to Schein and to distribute the profits from the sale on those diverted drugs, Walker used the services of a local attorney, who served as the escrow agent.
Separately, between December of 1999 and January of 2000, Williams also convinced Schein to supply four (4) other shipments that he claimed were destined for humanitarian aid in Peru. As before, Schein sold these drugs to ACR at a steeply discounted price because Schein believed these products were going to be used for humanitarian relief. As with the prior Schein shipments, all of the drugs were subsequently diverted to another secondary wholesaler, and the profits were reaped by Williams and his co-conspirators. For the shipments purportedly destined for Peru, another attorney was used as the escrow agent, and the illicit profits were laundered by Williams and his co-conspirators.
In total, Williams and Walker, and the other co-conspirators, obtained $6,301,016 worth of pharmaceutical products for the discounted price of $2,353,165. In reselling these diverted drugs, the defendants made profits of $1,763,227, which they divided among themselves.
Schein later learned of its products being sold in the domestic secondary market at discounted prices and became suspicious. The matter was eventually referred to the Office of Criminal Investigations of the United States Food and Drug Administration, which pursued the investigation that led to a twenty-three (23) count Indictment against Williams and Walker, among others, in April of 2004.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Office of Criminal Investigations of the United States Food and Drug Administration. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joan Silverstein, Ricardo Del Toro, and Charles Duross.
A copy of this press release 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 .