Six-year prison sentence for false advertising online

United States v. Arif, No. 17-1597, 2018 WL 3454467 (1stCir. Jul. 18, 2018)A reminder that false advertising can be subject to criminal penalties: Mustafa Hassan Arif sold non-prescription drug products that purported to treat or cure hundreds of different diseases and medical conditions from over 1,500 websites containing altered clinical studies, fabricated testimonials, and false indicia of origin (designed to make customers think they were buying from within their own Western countries, rather than from Pakistan) and made more than $11 million in revenues. He conditionally pled guilty to wire fraud in 2016 and was sentenced to seventy-two months of imprisonment.  The court of appeals affirmed the sentence.Arif argued that he could only be prosecuted under the FTCA, not the wire fraud statute. But the wire fraud statute, even assuming that it was enacted before the FTCA (it was not, but it was based on the pre-FTCA mail fraud statute), wasn’t impliedly repealed by…

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