Doctor Sentenced for Tax Evasion, Writing Prescriptions over Internet

A Virginia doctor was sentenced recently in federal court on charges that he wrote prescriptions over the Internet for people whom he had never met or examined, as well as tax evasion.

Acting United States Attorney Michael K. Loucks, Mark Dragonetti, resident agent in charge of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations, and Susan Dukes, special agent in charge for the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office, announced that Dr. Torrino Jennings of Mechanicsville, Va., was sentenced by Judge Richard Stearns to one year and a day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty on July 19, 2009 to seven counts of Introducing Misbranded Drugs into Interstate Commerce and four counts of Tax Evasion.

The drugs, shipments of the muscle relaxant SOMA, were misbranded as a matter of law because they were dispensed without a valid prescription. Between 2004 and 2007, Jennings issued between 50,000 and 100,000 prescriptions over the internet for SOMA and other drugs to individuals on whom he had never performed a physical examination and whom, indeed, he had never met. He did so based on brief forms completed by individuals for online pharmacies. The online pharmacies paid Jennings between $5.00 and $7.00 for each prescription he wrote based on one of these forms. Virtually no request for drugs submitted by the online pharmacies to Jennings for endorsement was ever rejected by him.

Jennings knowingly and intentionally did not report to the IRS hundreds of thousands of dollars he was paid by the online pharmacies for issuing the prescriptions.

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