FedEx Faces U.S. Criminal Charges Over Online Pharmacies

FedEx allegedly gained at least $820 million from 'conspiracy'

   
By Dan Levine

(Reuters) - FedEx Corp was indicted on Thursday for shipping packages from illegal online pharmacies despite repeated warnings from U.S. drug enforcement officials, according to a court filing.

The 15-count indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, includes charges for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. FedEx allegedly gained at least $820 million from the conspiracy, the filing said, and could be fined up to twice that amount.

FedEx reported $11.8 billion in total revenue for the quarter ended in May.

In a statement, FedEx Senior Vice President Patrick Fitzgerald said the company is innocent and will plead not guilty. U.S. prosecutors are asking that the company assume responsibility for the legality of millions of packages a day, he said.
"We are a transportation company. We are not law enforcement," he said.

Beginning in 2004, the indictment said, FedEx was warned "on no less than six different occasions" that illegal Internet pharmacies were using its services to distribute prescription drugs. Senior managers were among those who received warnings, the filing said.

In one instance, FedEx knew the Drug Enforcement Administration had shut down one pharmacy, but continued to ship packages from its affiliates. FedEx also developed policies and procedures that allowed it to continue shipments, the indictment said.

For example, some drivers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia said they had been stopped on the road by customers demanding packages of pills. Delivery addresses included parking lots and vacant homes where people would wait for pharmaceutical deliveries, the indictment said.

In response, a senior FedEx vice president of security approved a procedure under which Internet pharmacy packages from problematic shippers were held for pickup at specific stations, the filing said.

"This policy was eventually expanded to include all Internet pharmacy packages delivered to the stations that were experiencing concerns," the indictment said.

Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney in Northern California, said the indictment "highlights the importance of holding corporations that knowingly enable illegal activity responsible for their role in aiding criminal behavior."

But FedEx's Fitzgerald said the DEA never supplied a list of pharmacies engaging in illegal activity. The privacy of the company's customers is "at risk" because of the charges, he said.

"We continue to stand ready and willing to support and assist law enforcement," Fitzgerald said. "We cannot, however, do the job of law enforcement ourselves."

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is United States of America vs. FedEx Corporation, FedEx Express Inc and FedEx Corporate Services Inc, 14-cr-380.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Chris Reese and Mohammad Zargham)

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jmfjfe

"Fed-Ex"
Two things I am glad I have nothing to do with.. the Feds.. and my Ex.

July 19 2014 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
icastfuturestars

Who is really behind this...I se USe Big Pharma payouts in here...somewhere. Everywhere. This is all about ensuring their super profits. Otherwise someone might believe they could buy a pill for 10c on the Big Pharma Dollar.

July 19 2014 at 4:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tblue

Who is Barry Soetoro?

July 19 2014 at 3:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Roy

WHAT about the "illegal online pharmacies" ??? They "watch Fedex" but what about the real criminals? WTF?, typical DEA, arresting/charging the wrong people! The DEA is like a police force protecting the big pharma', the real leaders in drug deaths!

July 19 2014 at 2:21 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Roy's comment
Luna

Usually these companies are from foreign countries. Mostly they sell to people who cannot afford to pay a huge price for the meds they need. . The companies that are upset are the big pharmacy companies and now they have the Feds helping them. Like usual it's the poor people who will pay the price. Quality of the product and people commiting crimes because of drugs they bought online are not the biggest issues. Statistics do not support that reasoning. It's poor people and fixed income retired people who buy online to save money and it's meds they need.

July 19 2014 at 4:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
doug

One must wonder how many innocent folks were robbed, burglarized, carjacked, etc., by the druggies getting these illegal drugs. It is obvious many of the people receiving these drugs are not folks needing medication. It is also just as obvious (some) management at FedEx don't care about the crimes or the victims.

July 19 2014 at 1:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
brenhatestwinkie

PROFIT;S OVER PEOPLE

July 19 2014 at 1:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
flsr58

fed-ex = corporate greed.(ex.)misclassifly workers to save on fring benifets,truck maintenance,etc.

July 18 2014 at 11:39 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to flsr58's comment
msggov

What makes the on line pharmacies illegal? How would Fed Ex know they where illegal, unless furnished a list by DEA? Maximization of profit is the number one goal of any company but that does not necessarily mean abuse of the customers or workers. In this case their is not enough information provided to determine guilt or innocence.

July 19 2014 at 4:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thegreat1ofbg

OBAMA was not PRESIDENT IN 2004, when this began. Jeez people have no sense. Deh Terk err Jerbs!

July 18 2014 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
darinw40

if awhole big pharma did not try to rape the American Consumer...there would be no need for these foreign pharmacies....they are not illegal....just cheaper on us citizens..so big pharma pushed for them to be banned and made illegal....this awhole government pushes a global economy...but when Americans can find their desperately needed meds cheaper elsewhere.. they draw the line...just another way the government tries to kill off the poor...American government is crooked...starting at the top from the hand pick community dis-organizer in chief

July 18 2014 at 10:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
aztrukin

This is a shipping company and they did ask for companies blacklisted from distribution by the federal government to comply. The employees cannot demand to see licenses and other state and federal documents to pick up and deliver packages. It seems the federal government cannot do their jobs and blames others for this happening. I see a pattern of blame and unaccountability for the last several years going on here. Bet the feds will want billions in fines and that is it.

July 18 2014 at 9:53 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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