UPS pays $40M to end pharmacies probe
BY PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO -- Shipping company UPS agreed Friday to pay $40 million to end a federal criminal probe connected to deliveries it made for illicit online pharmacies.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Atlanta-based company also would "take steps" to block illicit online drug dealers from using their delivery service.
The DOJ said the fine amount is the money UPS collected from suspect online pharmacies. UPS won't be charged with any crimes.
"We believe we have an obligation and responsibility to help curb the sale and shipment of drugs sold through illegal Internet pharmacies," UPS spokesman Bill Tanner said. "UPS will pay a $40 million penalty and has agreed to enhance its compliance policies with respect to Internet pharmacy shippers."
Its biggest rival, FedEx Corp., still remains a target in the federal investigation, according to its March 21 quarterly report filed with the Security and Exchange Commission.
"We believe that our employees have acted in good faith at all times," FedEx stated in its regulatory filing. "We do not believe that we have engaged in any illegal activities and will vigorously defend ourselves in any action that may result from the investigation."
FedEx said it received subpoenas from a federal grand jury in San Francisco in 2008 and 2009. The San Francisco U.S. Attorney's office has played a central role in a nationwide crackdown on online pharmacies. Ten people with ties to online pharmacies have been convicted over the last two years.
"It is unclear what federal laws UPS may have violated," FedEx said in a statement Friday. "We remain confident that we are in compliance with federal law."