United States v. Arif, No. 17-1597 (1st Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s conviction for wire fraud and his sentence, holding (1) Congress did not impliedly repeal the wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. 1343, as to prosecutions that also fall within the reach of the 1938 Wheeler-Lea Amendment to the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), 15 U.S.C. 52-57; and (2) the remaining arguments raised by Appellant on appeal were without merit.
Appellant pled guilty to wire fraud for selling non-prescription drug products via an online business. Appellant created and operated more than 1,500 websites containing altered clinical studies, fabricated testimonials, and false indicia of origin to induce customers to purchase his products. Appellant was sentenced to seventy-two months’ imprisonment. On appeal, Appellant argued that prosecutions such as his must be pursued exclusively by the Federal Trade Commission as false advertising cases. The First Circuit disagreed, holding (1) Appellant’s case was correctly pursued by the Department of Justice as a wire fraud case; (2) the district court correctly rejected Defendant’s defense as to intent to defraud; (3) the district court’s Guidelines calculation as to the loss amount was correct; and (4) Appellant’s sentence was substantively reasonable.