Online pharmacist jailed

He won't need diet pills where he's going...

A Florida man is facing 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute a controlled substance.

Vineet Chhabra ran a series of websites offering Viagra, diet pills and other controlled drugs. Customers had to fill in online questionaires or complete a telephone interview but did not need to see a doctor or submit a prescription, as required under US law. His sister Sabina Faruqui also pleaded guilty and faces one-year probation. Five others, including a doctor and a pharmacist have already pleaded guilty. In total, 11 have been charged as a result of the three-year investigation.

Chhabra will be back in court for sentencing on 3 December. Prosecutors claim he has made $125m from running the sites - money he may have to forfeit or pay in fines. According to wire reports, he may also lose 15 luxury vehicles, including six Mercs, 72 pieces of jewelery, the contents of 60 bank accounts scattered around the world and property, including a $2m office building in Weston, Florida.

The online pharmacy began life in Ohio, but moved to Virginia after regulators began to take an interest. Chhabra moved it again from Virginia to Florida to keep one step ahead of regulators. He said in court his business was responsible and he had no intention of harming patients. ®

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