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10/5/2007
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CTO Pleads Guilty To Illegally Selling Drugs Online

The CTO of an online pharmacy admitted to setting up a company with two cohorts to illegally distribute controlled medications, including diet drugs.

The chief technology officer for an online pharmacy pleaded guilty for running a scheme to illegally sell prescription medications, including weight-loss drugs, over the Internet.

Denis Leborgne, 43, of Wilmington, N.C., pleaded guilty this week to conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances, including phentermine, which is a diet drug and a controlled substance. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the value of the money he earned in the scheme.

Leborgne admitted in court that between May and December of 2005, he conspired with Andrew Thomas Russo and David John, both indicted co-conspirators, to establish and operate United Care Pharmacy in Wilmington.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Jose, Calif., Leborgne's company contracted with doctors to provide "sham" medical prescriptions for people looking to illegally buy controlled substances without proper medical supervision. The company then filled the illegal pharmaceutical orders.

The government also reported that United Care Pharmacy received fraudulent prescriptions approved by doctors who never met the person seeking the medication. The company then downloaded these prescriptions, packaged the pharmaceuticals, and sent them to customers across the United States.

Leborgne also told the court that as part of the conspiracy, they set up off-shore accounts to receive payments for fulfilling the drug orders.

In August, 18 people, including three physicians and two pharmacists, were indicted on racketeering and related charges for allegedly running an illegal online drug distribution network. The business, named Affpower, generated more than $126 million in gross revenue from the illegal sale of prescription pharmaceuticals, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of California. The 313-count indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury in San Diego, charged that the 18 cohorts ran their operation in the U.S. and abroad.

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