A Florida man helped distribute $230 million worth of rigged HIV drugs to patients

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Lazaro Hernandez, 51, of Miami, Fla., was arrested for allegedly distributing $230 million worth of engineered HIV drugs that were unknowingly given to patients across the country.

According to the court’s indictment, Hernandez was part of a scheme that defrauded the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The scheme involved the illegal distribution of adulterated and mislabeled prescription HIV drugs given to unknowing patients.

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The announcement of the alleged fraudulent act came from Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, US Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), Atlanta Region.

Documents show that Hernandez got his hands on HIV drugs and created fake labels and forged documents to make the drugs appear genuine.

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Hernandez and those involved in the program established licensed wholesale drug distribution companies in Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.

They used these facilities to sell the drugs at discounted prices to other conspiring pharmaceutical wholesalers in Mississippi, Maryland, and New York.

These dealers resold the drugs to pharmacies across the country. The pharmacies billed health plans like Medicaid for the drugs and unwittingly passed the manipulated drugs to patients.

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The indictment says the drug dealers paid Hernandez and those involved in the program more than $230 million for the illegal HIV drug between 2019 and 2021. Hernandez laundered the money through multiple Miami businesses.

Hernandez is charged with conspiracy to supply adulterated and mislabeled drugs to interstate commerce, conspiracy to traffic medical products under false documentation, conspiracy to commit money laundering and certain money laundering offences.

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If convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison.

Hernandez also faces a separate indictment, which was returned by a Miami grand jury on June 14.

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