When a company engages in interstate commerce, there’s a possibility that federal law could be implicated, as in today’s story.
Specifically, attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice have brought charges against FedEx for allegedly conspiring with two online pharmacies over a ten-year period to distribute controlled substances. The DOJ attorneys are seeking $820 million from FedEx, which is the amount they claim the cargo shipping company earned from the activity.
According to the complaint, senior FedEx officials ignored repeated warnings from federal officials since 2004 that illegal pharmacies were using its services. FedEx couriers in three states may also have alerted executives to the possibility of suspicious drug deliveries. Some of the substances named in the complaint include Ambien, Valium and Xanax, and other prescription drugs to customers lacking valid prescriptions.
Notably, an Atlanta-based competitor to FedEx, UPS Inc., also went through a similar federal investigation. Ultimately, UPS agreed to pay $40 million last year to resolve the allegations, as well as promising to take steps to thwart illicit online drug deliveries.
Federal conspiracy charges should not be taken lightly. Penalties resulting from a conviction could be several times greater than the underlying felony charge alone. In addition, the prospect of being up against federal prosecutors in a federal court can be highly intimidating.
Without a skilled federal criminal defense attorney by your side, a criminal defendant’s chances for a strong defense may be severely handicapped. An attorney can help to level the playing field, holding prosecutors to the evidence and helping clients respond to criminal charges with confidence.
Source: Atlanta Daily World, “FedEx Charged With Assisting Illegal Pharmacies,” July 18, 2014