Member of Multi-State Pharmaceutical Theft Scheme Admits Possession and Sale of Stolen Goods
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 17, 2013|
NEWARK—A Florida man today admitted his role in conspiring to possess a stolen interstate shipment of prescription respiratory medicine manufactured by a subsidiary of Mylan Inc. that was stolen while on route by tractor-trailer from Texas to a customer in Florida, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Reynaldo Tapanes, 46, of Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to an information charging him with conspiring to possess the stolen prescription medicine, as well as an additional count of conspiracy to receive and sell stolen L’Oreal hair care products.
On May 3, 2012, Tapanes was charged in a complaint with conspiracy to deal in stolen goods with Ernesto Romero-Vidal, a/k/a “Bemba,” of Hallandale, Florida; Rocke R. Lopez-Batista, a/k/a “El Nino”; and Ariel Garcia, of Coral Gables, Florida. Tapanes and Romero-Vidal were charged with conspiracy to receive and sell the stolen L’Oreal hair care products, and Tapanes, Lopez-Batista, and Garcia were charged with conspiracy to possess the stolen Mylan pharmaceuticals. Romero-Vidal and Lopez-Batista were also charged with conspiracy to receive and sell stolen Sandoz prescription respiratory medicine.
Eight other defendants were also charged on May 3, 2012, in two separate complaints as part of the same long-term investigation by the FBI into illegal trafficking of pharmaceuticals and other stolen goods.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On September 8, 2009, a tractor-trailer containing pharmaceutical products manufactured by a subsidiary of Mylan Inc. was stolen in Tampa. Mylan has estimated the value of the stolen pharmaceuticals—which included Ipratropium Bromide Inhalation and Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solutions—to have a wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of approximately $264,000.
Tapanes admitted that from September 2009 through October 2009, he conspired with others to possess the stolen prescription respiratory medicine. On October 20, 2009, Tapanes and a conspirator delivered samples of the stolen prescription medicine to a confidential source in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Nine days later, Tapanes and a conspirator delivered a tractor-trailer containing the stolen prescription respiratory medicine to the confidential source. Tapanes admitted that he received a payment. Later that same day of $140,000 in cash at the home of one of the conspirators in payment for the sale and delivery of the stolen prescription respiratory medicine.
Tapanes admitted he conspired with others to receive and sell the stolen L’Oreal hair care products. On October 21, 2009, Tapanes and a conspirator delivered the stolen L’Oreal hair care products to a warehouse in Newark. The products had been shipped from Ohio and were destined for a customer in Florida when they were stolen in Florida in August 2008. L’Oreal has estimated the value of the stolen hair care products—which included shampoo, mousse, and hair color gels—to have a WAC of approximately $330,000. Tapanes also admitted that he and a conspirator received approximately $40,000 in cash from a confidential source in a Toys-R-Us parking lot in North Bergen, New Jersey, for the sale and delivery of the stolen goods.
The charges against the other defendants remain pending. These charges are merely accusations, and all defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
On both of the conspiracy counts, Tapanes faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each count. Sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen; and detectives of the North Bergen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert J. Dowd, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Special Litigation Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane H. Yoon of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.