Federal Defense Strategies – Wire Fraud & Misbranded Drugs

Defending against criminal charges of wire fraud and misbranded drugs requires a defense strategy that is comprehensive and detailed. These charges carry serious legal consequences, and individuals facing these allegations need experienced legal representation. 


Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa, develops individual plans to defend each client’s charges based on the facts and circumstances of the case. Clients are never treated like “files,” and every client’s family is understood to be filled with fear and stress. We believe that educating our clients and their families helps to relieve some of those fears by giving them the comfort of knowing how the law applies to their case. 



Understanding Wire Fraud and Misbranded Drugs 


Wire fraud and misbranded drugs are a central focus of federal law enforcement authorities, especially involving investigations conducted by and with the cooperation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We generally think of the FDA as merely a watchdog agency that reviews products people consume as nutrition or medicine for safety and effectiveness. 


But the FDA is also an investigative agency working with law enforcement agencies with powers to police the introduction and distribution of adulterated, misbranded, or fraudulent drugs and other products in the market. These products might be sold without accurate labeling, failing to include harmful ingredients, or falsely claiming to contain ingredients that are absent. 


The danger of circulating mislabeled or adulterated drugs and other products in the market is impossible to overstate. Consumers who are ill and need medication could be sold ineffective, mislabeled products. Others may be harmed by consuming harmful ingredients not listed on the label as required.  


Wire Fraud and Mislabeled Drugs 


Wire fraud is a federal offense that involves the use of electronic communication, including phone calls, emails, or electronic transfers, to execute a scheme to defraud others of money, property, or valuable information. To secure a wire fraud conviction, the prosecution must prove the existence of a fraudulent scheme, intent to defraud, and the use of wire communication to facilitate the scheme. 


Government efforts to stop the distribution of adulterated or mislabeled drugs often use the wire fraud laws to get federal jurisdiction over the alleged wrongdoers. By advertising mislabeled products on the internet, TV, or radio, or by using interstate communications devices to discuss the sale and transfer of these products, makers, and distributors of mislabeled drugs become subject to federal prosecution for wire fraud.  


Misbranded drugs refer to pharmaceutical products that do not meet the labeling and marketing requirements outlined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). These requirements address accurate labeling, safety claims, and compliance with FDA regulations. Charges related to misbranded drugs often involve allegations of deceptive marketing practices or failure to disclose potential risks. 


Defense Strategies for Wire Fraud 


Defending against wire fraud charges involves a multifaceted approach aimed at challenging the prosecution’s case and protecting the defendant’s rights. Some of the most effective defense strategies to protect clients from convictions in these types of prosecutions include the following: 


Lack of Intent: The prosecution must prove it is the defendant’s intent to defraud. Defense attorneys can argue that the defendant did not possess the requisite intent and that any actions taken were not part of a fraudulent scheme. In the context of FDA violations, the defendant must have had knowledge of the false information or the product’s mislabeling to possess the intent to defraud 


No Fraudulent Scheme: Challenging the existence of a fraudulent scheme is another defense strategy. Attorneys can argue that the defendant’s actions were legitimate or that there was no intent to deceive or defraud.  


Insufficient Evidence: Even when the prosecution has some evidence that may suggest the defendant engaged in some illegal activity, the government must always present “sufficient evidence” to support a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “Some” evidence that implicates the defendant is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If a defense lawyer can raise doubts about the sufficiency of the evidence, the judge or jury may well find the prosecution has not met its burden of proof or that the evidence is circumstantial and open to alternative interpretations. 


Wire Communications Were Not Used: If the alleged wire fraud involves some type of electronic communication, the prosecution must still prove that wire communications were used in or in furtherance of the alleged fraud. Again, this is an area in which intense detailed analysis will inform the defense strategy and require experienced judgment by a skilled criminal defense lawyer. 


Defense Strategies for Misbranded Drugs 


Defending against charges involving misbranded drugs requires a deep understanding of FDA regulations, labeling requirements, and marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry. The most experienced criminal defense lawyers handling FDA labeling or adulteration charges know that the following defenses are often effective: 


FDA Compliance: Demonstrating that the defendant’s actions were following FDA regulations and that labeling and marketing practices adhered to industry standards are the best defense against charges violating them. Often, regulations can be interpreted in various ways and presenting evidence that the defendant did comply with the technical requirements of the FDA rules should be an effective defense. 


Lack of Knowledge: Arguing that the defendant was unaware of any misbranding issues or labeling discrepancies can be a viable defense. This strategy places the burden on the prosecution to prove the defendant’s knowledge and intent. Remember, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime, and the defendant’s knowledge of the nature of the product is key to proof that the defendant acted willfully in violation of the law. Unless the government proves the defendant’s knowledge, the defense should prevail. 


Truthful Labeling: If the defendant can establish that the drug’s labeling was truthful and accurate, they can argue that there was illegal misbranding of the product. A truthful label contradicts the allegation of intent to mislabel. The defense lawyer needs to have a thorough familiarity with the subject matter and be able to rely on expert witnesses to show the judge or jury that the product ingredients and the label agree.  


Defense Strategies and Best Practices in All Cases 


While wire fraud and misbranded drug cases involve distinct legal issues, common themes in defense strategies apply to both and to other criminal cases: 


Thorough Investigation: Conducting a comprehensive investigation into the facts and circumstances of the case is crucial.  


Use of Expert Witnesses: Expert witnesses are often imperative to challenging the prosecution’s case. Experts in areas such as pharmaceuticals, marketing, or finance will often provide critical insights into areas that are beyond the average juror’s range of knowledge. 


Negotiation and Plea Bargaining: Depending on the strength of the government’s case, negotiation and plea bargaining may be viable options to secure a more favorable outcome for the defendant. In many cases, the defendant’s negotiating power is strengthened by the viability of their other defenses. A skilled criminal defense lawyer knows how to turn a prosecution’s weakness into a very favorable result for their client. 


Turn to Stechschulte Nell Law for Your Strongest Defense 


In the face of serious wire fraud and misbranded drug charges, it’s essential to have a comprehensive defense strategy. At Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa, we understand the complexities of these cases and develop tailored plans for each client.  

Don’t navigate these legal challenges alone. Reach out to us today at 813-280-1244 for a thorough case analysis and experienced legal representation. 

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