The United States Attorney’s office indicted an Orange County man on March 6th for trafficking in counterfeit Viagra, Cyalis and Levitra which he was allegedly selling on Craigslist.  The man was taken into custody by federal agents from ICE and Homeland Security.  He is charged with eight counts of trafficking counterfeit goods.  

Federal officials first became aware of Nathan Welter when Customs and Border Patrol seized several packages addressed to Welter at different addresses in Orange County back in August of 2011.  Welter received a warning in March of 2012 about counterfeit Viagra.  Agents then seized another eight packages from China in August.   Upon searching Welter’s home, agents found over 9000 counterfeit pills, fake labels and packaging materials.  They also seized approximately $40,000.00 in cash.  The value of the medication that was seized is estimated to be around $125,000.00.

Trafficking in counterfeit prescription medication is a crime is not only because the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these medications own the patent on them but also because the medication contains different ingredients than the patented prescription medications and can potentially be hazardous.  People purchase there products online rather than from a pharmacy because they are less expensive.  Apparently you get what you pay for.

The media loves to state the maximum penalty for a crime when writing about criminal cases.  In this case they have stated that Welter faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2million.  Mr. Welter will not receive 10 years in federal prison and he is not likely to pay any fine depending upon his financial situation.  A fine is only imposed if a defendant has the ability to pay.    A sentence is based on the value of the counterfeit medication, much like a theft crime.  Therefore, depending upon whether Welter has any prior convictions, he is likely looking at less than 2 years in federal prison.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in federal court it is critical that you hire an attorney who is experienced in Federal Criminal Cases.  Please contact the Law Office of Diane C. Bass immediately.