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Doctor and Pharmacy Owner Plead Guilty in Internet Pharmacy Conspiracy
Date:9/19/2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Florida pharmacy owner and a Kentucky physician pleaded guilty to conspiracy for their participation in an Internet pharmacy business that generated more than $126 million in gross revenues from the illegal sale of prescription pharmaceuticals, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt for the Southern District of California announced today.

Claude Covino, 55, of Del Ray Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty in San Diego before U.S. District Judge Irma E. Gonzalez, to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances. Covino also agreed to forfeit $831,560.

Subramanya K. Prasad, M.D., 40, of London, Kentucky, also pleaded guilty before Judge Gonzalez to one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances. Prasad also agreed to forfeit $95,994.

"These defendants abused their positions of trust within the health care industry by illegally peddling prescription drugs for their own gain and outside the usual course of professional practice," said U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt. "Such illegal activity endangers the health and safety of the public, which must rely on the honesty and integrity of their doctors and pharmacists to personally and professionally address their health concerns. Today, these defendants were held responsible for their violation of the public's trust."

In pleading guilty, Covino admitted that he was part-owner of Saveon RX Pharmacy, located in Florida, which was established primarily to service Internet pharmacy networks such as the Affpower organization. Affpower recruited licensed pharmacies such as Covino's to fill drug orders. Savon RX was the largest supplier of prescription pharmaceuticals to the Affpower organization. From approximately May 2005 through June 2006, the Savon RX Pharmacy filled and shipped over 200,000 order
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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