Arizona Couple and Their Business Indicted for Fraudulently Distributing Indian Drugs

Scheme netted the pair more than $2.5 million in revenue

PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – A federal grand jury in Phoenix returned an 83-count indictment yesterday afternoon against Randy T. French, 52, and Sheila T. French, 42, both of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for conspiracy; introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce; smuggling; and mail and wire fraud. Prescription Buyers Group, Inc., a company owned and operated by the Frenches, also was named in the indictment. A summons was issued to both individual defendants; they will be arraigned on these charges at a later date.

The indictment alleges that the defendants operated a scheme in which they advertised for sale hundreds of prescription drugs at greatly discounted prices. In their advertisements and in telephone conversations with customers, the defendants falsely represented that the drugs they were offering were “name brand,” FDA-approved drugs. In fact, the defendants caused their customers’ orders to be filled with imitation drugs from India, many of which had names that were deceptively similar to the brand name and/or active pharmaceutical ingredient of the FDA-approved drug that the customer had ordered. Neither these Indian drugs nor the facilities in which they were manufactured were approved by the FDA for sale or distribution in the United States. This scheme generated revenues for defendants of more than $2,500,000.

The maximum penalties are as follows: Conspiracy, five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both; introducing misbranded drugs and foods into interstate commerce, three years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both; smuggling, 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both; and mail and wire fraud, 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, the assigned judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. The prosecution is being handled by Peter Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorney; and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven J. Tave, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-173(French et al)

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