Fake Viagra dealers avoid stiff fines 

click to enlarge A North Vancovuer couple have been sentenced for importing off-brand Viagra and Cialis and reselling it online. photo supplied, Tim Reckmann flickr.com/photos/foto_db/
  • A North Vancovuer couple have been sentenced for importing off-brand Viagra and Cialis and reselling it online. photo supplied, Tim Reckmann flickr.com/photos/foto_db/

Two North Vancouver residents have avoided hard time but will face fines after pleading guilty to importing and selling off-brand erectile dysfunction drugs.

Mohamad Fejvai Nejad, 31, and Marissa Tettamanti, 23, pleaded guilty to selling prescription drugs without a prescription and dealing with a drug in a manner that deceives between the spring of 2017 and the summer of 2018 when they were arrested.

According to an agreed statement of facts by the Crown and defence lawyers submitted in North Vancouver provincial court Friday, the two imported generic drugs with the same medicinal ingredients as Viagra and Cialis from Tehran and then sold them to local buyers online for upwards of $30 per pill.

Health Canada staff noticed the ads on Craigslist and hired private investigators to make undercover purchases. At times, Fejvai Nejad also offered medical advice to his clients, warning them to start with low doses.

Fejvai Nejad and Tettamanti advertised the pills as "always real, guaranteed" and even warned that "cheap knock-offs" could result in health risks.

But, without proper medical oversight, Fejvai Nejad and Tettamanti were supplying plenty of risk on their own, Judge Patricia Bond concluded, noting the drugs "would have significant effects on individuals including the possibility of heart attack and death," she said.

The victims who bought the drugs were typically older men, dressed in suits, Crown lawyer Michelle Ball said. The very health issues that caused the men to have erectile dysfunction may put them, without proper supervision by a physician, at higher risk of side effects. Health Canada also had to divert its resources from regulation and administration, to investigate Fejvai Nejad and Tettamanti, Ball added.

The pair were also originally charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking because they also had supplied a product called THC Climax, but those charges were stayed by the Crown.

Through their lawyers, both of the accused expressed remorse for their actions.

For his role, Fejvai Nejad was fined $6,000 per charge for a total of $12,000. Tettamanti was fined $3,000 for each count, totalling $6,000.

Those fines are at the low end of what would be available for the courts to apply, Ball said, but she agreed to a softer sentence on the basis that neither Fejvai Nejad nor Tettamanti would likely be able to pay much more. Fejvai Nejad filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and both are now reliant on their parents for income while they try to turn their lives around.

Fejvai Nejad's lawyer told the court his client only turned to selling the drugs after an autoimmune disease made it impossible for him to maintain his career working in sales and human resources.

They were also sentenced to two years of probation.

This article originally appeared here.

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