A Thai woman who sold medicine to U.S. customers without requiring a prescription -- sometimes sending them in boxes labeled as gifts or even crayons -- was sentenced today to time served for wire fraud, money laundering and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
Duangthip Chutivaraporn, 33, has already agreed to pay the government $2.1 million, reflecting the proceeds from the drug sales, and today U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti added a $5,000 fine.
Chutivaraporn has also waived her right to fight removal from the country, and is expected to be deported promptly. She has been jailed since March and family members have been staying in Pittsburgh so they can visit her in the Allegheny County Jail.
Chutivaraporn ran the website www.eDrugnet.com and around 30 other medicine peddling Internet sites. The government has seized those sites.
"It's a very serious offense," said Judge Conti, after noting that federal guidelines suggest a two-year sentence. But, she added, the Thai woman has "certainly led a really exemplary life other than those incidents that brought you here." The judge said that the defendant has been a spiritual guide to people and has funded the educations of numerous students.
Chutivaraporn's prosecution stemmed from a probe by the Food and Drug Administration, FBI, IRS and Department of Homeland Security. Agents posing as bulk buyers met her in Bangkok in 2011, then invited her to meet in New Orleans, where she was arrested.
Rich Lord: email@example.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord