UK trio appear in court after money laundering profits from fake impotence drugs
On Sunday three men appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court and were sentenced to a combined 89 weeks in prison in relation to money laundering in excess of £256,000. This followed a criminal investigation conducted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The guilty trio were Michael Bowyer, 63, who was handed a 45 week sentence, David Fairhurst, 61, received 26 weeks and 50 year old George Lowe received 18 weeks which has been suspended for 18 months. All three were arrested in connection to the laundered monetary gains from a Cyprus-based illegal online pharmacy. The illegal activities were orchestrated by a UK criminal who had numerous illegal online pharmacy businesses selling counterfeit medication from outside of the UK. The MHRA accessed illegal websites which offered counterfeit Viagra and purchased some of the fake pills. They then cooperated with expert financial investigators to begin unearthing the audit trail. After thorough investigations, it was found that the illegal businesses turnover stood at over £1 million over a three year period. The three men took proceeds from the websites’ UK bank account, transferring this to an account in Cyprus using various means. MHRA Acting Head of Enforcement, Nimo Ahmed, condemned the activities of the convicted counterfeiters and said, “This case highlights the criminality of the people who continue to put profit before patient’s health. These illegal pharmacy websites selling medicines bought from illegitimate sources pose a real threat to people’s health because they simply don’t know what they are getting. We strongly advise people to protect themselves by purchasing their medicines only from sources such as legitimate pharmacies and to take prescription-only-medicines following an appropriate consultation with their GP.” Ahmed’s comments echo similar warnings Medical Specialists Pharmacy have issued countless times previously such as back in February. Patients’ welfare is always at the core of our thinking, and we are strongly fighting against the high volume of illegally operated pharmacies that are appearing on the internet. These websites do not care for the welfare of the unfortunate men who purchase the dangerous and cheap pills, and more often than not you simply do not know what you are getting. We only have genuine branded medication and do not supply any illegal products such as ‘Kamagra’ and it is illegal to buy or sell this within the UK.