Archive for Saturday, March 2, 2002

Assets freed in diluted drug case

March 2, 2002

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— More than $8 million of Robert R. Courtney's frozen assets were released Friday from federal civil court so the money can be used in his criminal sentencing, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Courtney, 49, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 20 counts of tampering and adulterating or misbranding chemotherapy drugs under an agreement that said the money should be used for victim's restitution.

Senior U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright, who is overseeing a federal civil lawsuit against Courtney, approved the money transfer. The assets now go to criminal court where U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith can use them for restitution or fines, the attorney's office said.

Sentencing has not been set. The druggist faces between 17 1/2 years and 30 years in federal prison and up to $15 million in fines.

The money, frozen as part of the federal lawsuit, consists of various stocks, bonds, annuities and certificates of deposit, the office said. The assets' value fluctuates daily with the market, the office said.

Wright's order also makes permanent earlier injunctions barring Courtney from practicing pharmacy or applying for a pharmacist's license again in the United States.

Although details of who would be eligible for the funds remain to be worked out, Courtney's plea agreement calls for restitution "to all persons harmed" by his criminal conduct. That means not just the eight cancer victims identified in Courtney's indictment, and not just the other cancer patients whose chemotherapy drugs he admitted diluting in his plea agreement, but possibly all 300-plus plaintiffs in the civil lawsuits.

"Our goal is to have a global resolution of Robert Courtney's and his family's legal concerns," said Jean Paul Bradshaw, a Courtney attorney.

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