9 July – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acost…

9 July – 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, Barbara J. Lash, plead guilty before United States District Court Judge James I. Cohn, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for her 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.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge James I. Cohn has been set for September 23, 2005 at 9:30 a.m. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lash faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to five (5) years’ imprisonment, a fine up to twice the gain of the illegal conduct, and possible restitution. As part of the plea agreement in the case, Lash is obligated to forfeit $185,778.93, representing her personal profit from the criminal conduct. That amount was tendered to the government at the plea proceeding.

According to the criminal charges and court records, Lash 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. Her employment included marketing of Ethicon devices to hospitals and other medical facilities in the New Orleans area.

From approximately March 2003 through February 2005, Lash participated in a conspiracy with another sales representative and employees of her customer facilities in the New Orleans area and elsewhere, and an individual who was the principal behind a company located in Delray Beach, Florida. The Principal solicited sales representatives of medical device manufacturers, seeking to purchase medical devices for re-sale. It was part of the conspiracy that Lash and her coconspirators, without the knowledge or authorization of Ethicon, secured control and possession of significant quantities of the prescription medical devices which were sold to Vogt. The devices were primarily acquired through the coconspirators who were employed at various medical facilities within the sales area assigned to Lash.

According to statements made in Court and the Information, Lash participated in more than two dozen shipments and over $215,000 was paid to the coconspirators.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Food and Drug Administration. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Watts-Fitzgerald.

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 .

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