Wausau Health Insurance Broker Sentenced for Scheme to Import & Distribute Misbranded Drugs from India
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Kenneth Zipperer, 54, Wausau, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty today to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering. After accepting Zipperer’s two guilty pleas, U.S. District Judge William M. Conley sentenced Zipperer to 6 months in federal prison, imposed a $150,000 fine, and ordered him to pay $483 in restitution.
On November 18, 2020, a federal grand jury sitting in Madison, Wisconsin returned a 26-count indictment against Zipperer charging him with five counts of mail fraud, ten counts of wire fraud, two counts of distributing misbranded prescription drugs without a written prescription or license to administer such drugs, five counts of concealment money laundering, and four counts of promotional money laundering.
According to the indictment, Zipperer imported foreign-sourced prescription drugs from an internet pharmacy company in India via the U.S. Mail and Express Mail Service, and none of the drugs were approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption in the United States. The indictment alleged that Zipperer distributed many of the foreign-sourced prescription medications to his insurance clients in person, primarily at the business office for Zipperer Financial LLC in Wausau. Zipperer pleaded guilty to Counts 3 and 21 of the indictment.
“Distributing unapproved prescription drugs is illegal and puts consumers’ health at risk. In order to protect public health and safety, our office works closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who seek to profit from selling unapproved prescription drugs,” said Acting U.S. Attorney O’Shea.
“Patients who take foreign unapproved prescription drugs are at serious risk of harm, as the drugs have no guarantees of safety or efficacy and hold the potential to harm those who use them,” said Special Agent in Charge Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office. “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who put public health at risk.”
The charges against Zipperer were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Food & Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations, IRS Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber handled the prosecution.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Wisconsin