Paul J. McNulty, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Peter D. Keisler, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice, announced that pharmacist Luke J. Coukos was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema to 60 months in prison and a fine of $140,318. Coukos pleaded guilty on December 19, 2003, to conspiring to violate the Controlled Substances Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in connection with the illegal sale of controlled substances and other prescription drugs over the Internet to consumers through various websites. Physician Marvin J. Brown also pleaded guilty on December 19, 2003, to related charges and is awaiting sentencing.
These charges are related to a 108-count indictment pending in this District against Vincent K. Chhabra and nine other individuals charging that Chhabra and his co-conspirators used an "online ordering process" to allow customers to order prescription controlled substance drugs over the Internet, through such websites as "www.get-it-on.com." When customers ordered drugs online, the indictment charges that the customers chose the type, quantity, and dose of controlled substances they wanted, and answered some questions on a medical form. However, no one checked the accuracy of the information that customers provided, as the Controlled Substances Act requires, and customers obtained the drugs without ever meeting a doctor face-to-face, as required by law. The trial in that case is scheduled for June 7, 2004.
Mr. McNulty stated, "This conviction is a significant step in our efforts to crack down on those who exploit the Internet to feign legitimacy when they are, in fact, drug traffickers."
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Food and Drug