A Pakistani national has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by a federal US court for his role in an international wire fraud scheme through which he duped more than 100,000 people, the Justice Department has said. Mustafa Hasan Arif, 37, who also holds the nationality of Britain, defrauded individuals all around the world by selling drugs that he claimed would cure many serious diseases. According to court documents, Arif’s scheme generated more than USD 12.8 million in fraudulent sales from more than 100,000 victims.
He was initially arrested after he flew into New York in February 2014 on a business trip. He appeared in federal court in New York and later was transported to New Hampshire, where he has remained in custody. Arif pleaded guilty to wire fraud on October 11, 2016. According to the documents, Arif created, maintained, and controlled over 1,500 websites that promoted the sale of the drugs while he stayed in Lahore.
The websites claimed that the drugs would cure and treat hundreds of diseases, many of which were incurable, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and emphysema. The websites included falsified cure rates, false clinical research, and fabricated testimonials, federal prosecutors alleged. One series of websites fraudulently claimed that Arif’s products had shown a 90 percent cure rate in clinical trials.
Other websites included links to clinical research that had not been written about the drugs on the websites, but which suggested that clinical research had been performed on the products Arif was distributing. In an effort to make customers comfortable with the products, Arif also falsely represented that the drugs were being sold by entities in Germany, Norway, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark when in fact the drugs were all being sold and shipped from Pakistan.