Online Pharmaceutical Sales: How a Con Artist Starred In a Sting That Cost Google Millions

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An in-depth article from The Wall Street Journal shares the story of an alleged con man and federal prisoner who became the lead actor in a government sting targeting Google Inc.

The con man posed as an agent for online drug dealers in dozens of recorded phone calls and email exchanges with Google sales executives, spending $200,000 in government money for ads selling narcotics, steroids, and other controlled substances.

Yes, this means the government built its criminal case against Google by using money, aliases, and fake companies — tactics often used against drug cartels and other crime syndicates.

How did this all go down?

The con man posed as the fictitious Jason Corriente, an agent for advertisers with lots of money to spend from several fake websites that sold steroids and other drugs.

Google initially rejected his sales attempts, but the con man was ultimately able to work with Google’s ad executives to find a way around Google’s strict rules, according to prosecutors involved in the case.

The WSJ article explains how Google — which agreed to pay a $500 million settlement to avoid a trial for aiding illegal online pharmaceutical sales — ultimately agreed it “improperly and knowingly assisted online pharmacy advertisers allegedly based in Canada to run advertisements for illicit pharmacy sales targeting U.S. customers.”

 

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi’s manager of digital content strategy.