RICHLAND, Wash. — A federal court found a Richland man guity of 47 charges involving fraud and lying to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
A judge found Sami Anwar, 42, guilty of all counts, the DOJ said. Evidence shown during an eight-week trial indicated Anwar headed a conspiracy to have his companies fraudulently pose as legitimate human clinical research trial sites and provided “mountains of false clinical research trial data regarding drug safety and efficacy to dozens of drug companies” and the FDA, the DOJ said.
William Hyslop, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced the verdict late Friday. The full list of charges includes conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 45 charges including wire fraud, mail fraud, obtaining controlled substances through fraud and furnishing false information to the DEA, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
That false clinical research data that Anwar contributed to the public health system included safety data on dozens of different drugs and medicines designed to treat a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, pediatric illnesses, adolescent smoking, cirrhosis, scabies, depression and opioid addiction, to name a few, according to the DOJ.
Trial evidence showed Anwar’s companies received over $5.6 million from the scheme, the DOJ said. Anwar is not a medical doctor, but he posed as a doctor and forged the signatures of doctors he employed, according to the DOJ.
Over a dozen employees testified that he directly instructed them to assist him in committing the fraud by falsifying medical records and data in order to allow dozens of ineligible subjects to participate in research; stealing blood samples from unwitting medical patients at Anwar’s medical centers; dangerously hoarding opioids intended to be dispensed to study subjects; and fabricating required subject diary entries, according to the DOJ.
Trial evidence and information from a superseding indictment indicated Anwar not only directed the fraud but engaged in threats, retaliation and intimidation in order to hide crimes from drug companies, the FDA and law enforcement, according to the DOJ.
Two of Anwar’s companies, Zain Research LLC and Mid Columbia Research LLC, were also convicted of participating in the conspiracy, the DOJ said.
A judge will determine Anwar’s sentence in March 2020.