San Francisco, California - Hakob Kojoyan was sentenced Monday in United States District Court to 33 months in prison and ordered to forfeit his Palm Springs house for participating in a scheme involving the unlicensed wholesale distribution of prescription drugs, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Richard Seeborg, United States District Judge.
Kojoyan, 29, of Northridge, California, admitted that he engaged in a scheme from February 2017 to April 2018 to distribute illegally obtained prescription drugs to unsuspecting purchasers. In his plea agreement, Kojoyan stated that he and his associates used a Pennsylvania company, Mainspring Distribution LLC (Mainspring), to pose as legitimate prescription drug wholesalers. They then obtained prescription drugs from unlicensed, black market sources in California. They sold the drugs through Mainspring to unknowing wholesale customers, falsely representing that the drugs were legitimately sourced from licensed suppliers. Kojoyan and his co-defendants avoided dealing in generic drugs and instead specialized in expensive name-brand prescription drugs used to treat HIV, such as Atripla. Kojoyan himself also supplied prescription drugs for such resale, though he had no license to do so.
In a memo filed for the sentencing, the government pointed out that to combat prescription drug fraud, Congress mandated prescription drug wholesalers provide their customers with detailed information about the drugs they sell, including a transaction history tracing the drugs back to their licensed manufacturer. The government asserted Kojoyan and his co-conspirators knew about these federal regulations designed to protect vulnerable patients, and they worked diligently to evade them. They stole the identity of a licensed prescription drug company supplier in California and prepared paperwork falsely suggesting their drugs came from that supplier. The government described how they further mimicked the appearance of a legitimate supply chain by opening bank accounts in names misleadingly similar to the licensed supplier and routing the proceeds of their fraudulent sales through the accounts.
The government further asserted that bank accounts under the control of Kojoyan received approximately $2.2 million from Mainspring-associated accounts, much of which was laundered and distributed to co-conspirators. Kojoyan’s earnings were invested into a house in Palm Springs, which the Court ordered forfeited to the government.
The government filed a superseding information on July 6, 2020, charging Kojoyan with unlicensed wholesale distribution of prescription drugs, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(t), 333(b)(1)(D), 353(e)(1). On July 15, 2020, Kojoyan entered a guilty plea to the charge.
In addition to sentencing Kojoyan to a prison term of 33 months and ordering the forfeiture of his Palm Springs house, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg also sentenced Kojoyan to a three-year period of supervised release to follow his prison term. The defendant remains out of custody on bond and was ordered to surrender to begin his sentence on June 2, 2021.
This case is being prosecuted by the Corporate Fraud Strike Force of the United States Attorney’s Office. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.