San Francisco

4 Men Charged in Scheme to Sell $70M Worth of Black-Market HIV Prescription Drugs

Four Los Angeles men accused of a scheme to sell $70 million worth of black-market prescription drugs, primarily for HIV treatment, are facing conspiracy charges in federal court in San Francisco.

Drug distribution company owner Edvin Ovasapyan, 41; associates Hakob Kojoyan, 27, and Lorik Papyan, 36; and attorney Stephen Silverman, 77, were charged in a superseding indictment that was returned on Sept. 5 and unsealed Sept. 10.

They are each accused of three conspiracies to commit wire fraud, to commit money laundering and to engage in the illegal wholesale distribution of prescription drugs.

The indictment alleges they conspired to buy HIV drugs on the black market and to disguise their actions by creating documents and bank accounts for shell companies with names misleadingly similar to the name of a licensed supplier. One of the bank accounts was in San Mateo, the indictment said.

Ovasapyan's now-defunct Pennsylvania-based company, Mainspring Distribution LLC, allegedly took in $70 million from its sales to retail pharmacies and wholesalers, according to the indictment.

The defendants are due to appear before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg on Feb. 25 for a status conference.

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