Federal criminal charges brought against USMeds, an alleged “pill mill,” for illegal online distribution of pain medicine

Four Georgians were indicted last week in federal court for allegedly conspiring to distribute prescription drugs across the country. Federal authorities believe the four operated an online prescription company which illegally sold hundreds of thousands of pain killers including Vicodin and Lortab.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.

Prosecutors say the online business, USMeds, was owned by James Hazelwood of Cumming, Georgia. Three other Georgians were also listed in the indictment: Jennifer Ryan of Cumming, Stephen Derks of Marietta, and Helen Kann of Atlanta.

In addition to trafficking charges, the four have also been indicted for money laundering. According to the indictment, a customer could simply go online and select the type and quantity of prescription drugs they wanted. The defendants would then perform a consultation over the phone with the customer and approve the order. Prosecutors say that the defendants would then send the customer the actual drugs or a prescription.

Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully resolved several criminal cases involving doctors and associates involved in online distribution of medication. In many of these cases, the government is stretching the law to try and send a message that online medicine is illegal. But that’s not always true. In our experience, a good criminal defense attorney can show that his client had no knowledge of any illegal activity, or that his specific involvement does not rise to the level of a federal crime.

In one recent case, we represented a doctor alleged to have been involved with a similar operation. We were able to get the case resolved for a misdemeanor charge and no jail time. Because the law was not clear that this type of business was illegal, we were also able to help the doctor keep his medical license.


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