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Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Illegally Selling Millions of Prescription Pills on the Internet

SEP 06 (NEW YORK) – Carl J. Kotowski, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Maurice Malin, 83, of Suffern, N.Y. pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck to conspiring to illegally sell over 5 million prescription Butalbital pills to customers across the United States who did not have valid prescriptions for the drugs.  Malin also agreed today to forfeit $9 million to the United States, which represented his proceeds from the illegal scheme. 

DEA Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski said:  “Unfortunately, this is another example of a pharmacist who was more interested in making fast money than he was in helping the public.  His actions help to erode the public’s trust in those in positions of responsibility.”

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As Maurice Malin admitted today in court, he made millions of dollars illegally dispensing drugs over the Internet to customers who had no valid prescriptions and had never seen a doctor.  Pharmacists entrusted with the sale of controlled substances must safeguard the health of consumers, not scheme to profit from illegal drug sales.”

Malin was a licensed pharmacist who operated pharmacies in the Bronx, New York.  Between at least March 2014 and July 2016, Malin engaged in a scheme to dispense Butalbital, a Schedule III controlled substance, to customers who had not consulted with a physician and did not possess a valid prescription for the drug.  Specifically, customers ordered Butalbital pills by filling out online medical questionnaires that typically posed a series of “yes” or “no” questions. Customers ordered the drugs without ever seeing or speaking to a physician or medical practitioner and without obtaining a valid prescription. 

During the course of the investigation, undercover agents made numerous online purchases of Butalbital that were fulfilled by the Malin Pharmacies.  In certain instances, Malin’s name was listed as the fulfilling pharmacist on the Butalbital bottles agents received.  In addition, many of the bottles that were received as a result of the undercover buys did not bear the name of any doctor who had prescribed the Butalbital, and instead repeated the name of the patient in the location on the label where the doctor’s name should have appeared had there been a valid prescription.  Malin was also captured on recorded phone calls with undercover agents acknowledging that he was aware that customers who placed online orders had not met with or consulted with a physician prior to placing their online order.

The charges to which Malin pleaded guilty carry a maximum term of 10 years in prison.
 
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding work of the DEA New Jersey Division in the investigation and thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their assistance. 


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