A Yorba Linda man caught last year by federal agents with 8,223 Chinese counterfeit Viagra, Cialis and Levitra pills he hoped to sell in Craigslist ads has signed a guilty plea.
When Department of Homeland Security officers arrested Nathan Welter in March following a federal indictment for trafficking in fake pills, he denied any wrongdoing, but decided this month to accept responsibility in exchange for a potential reduction in punishment.
According to the plea deal, Welter faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $6 million fine at a future sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton Tucker's Santa Ana courtroom.
Though the scheme imported the counterfeit pills from China and used three different addresses, Customs and Border Protection agents discovered the incoming packages containing $28,000 worth of pills, received a search warrant and recovered the huge cache in Welter's car and residence.
According to the plea deal approved by Assistant United States Attorney Vibhav Mittal, Welter made "at least $18,000" in the months before his arrest and had an unsold inventory worth more than $100,500 on the wholesale market.
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The counterfeit pills displayed corporate symbols to appear as genuine products.
The defendant, who was born in 1974 and remains free from custody on bail, signed the guilty plea one month before his scheduled two-day, August trial inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.