Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 14, 2024
Executives of California Digital Health Firm Done Global Indicted for Alleged $100M Illegal Drug SchemeSource: Brian Turner, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In what marks a noteworthy shift in the legal environment surrounding telehealth, the Justice Department has made its first criminal drug distribution prosecutions against a digital health company's executives for alleged illegal distribution of controlled substances through telemedicine. The individuals in question are Ruthia He, founder and CEO of the California-based Done Global Inc., and David Brody, clinical president of Done Health P.C., who now face allegations of distributing Adderall and conspiring to defraud U.S. taxpayers.

According to the Office of Public Affairs, He was arrested in Los Angeles and Brody was taken into custody in San Rafael. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland highlighted the defendants' alleged exploitation of the COVID-19 pandemic to execute a "$100 million scheme" that purportedly involved over 40 million pills and prioritized profit over legitimate medical care. In a statement obtained by the Justice Department, Garland conveyed the department's stance on illegal online drug distribution and promised accountability.

"Those seeking to profit from addiction by illegally distributing controlled substances over the internet should know that they cannot hide their crimes," Garland stated, according to the Justice Department. Moreover, Deputy Chief Matthew Yelovich from the Northern District of California underscored the need for legality in online transactions, especially in the realm of healthcare. The indictment alleges that He, Brody, and their conspirators' actions not only preyed on drug seekers but in doing so exacerbated a national shortage of prescription stimulants, particularly Adderall, posing significant threats to those with legitimate medical needs.

Furthermore, even after red flags such as online chatter on how to misuse Done to acquire Adderall and the occurrence of overdoses and deaths among Done members, the accused supposedly persisted with their operations. Efforts to conceal their alleged conspiracy included deleting documents, switching to encrypted messaging to avoid detection, and failing to respond to subpoenas. The investigation by DEA, HHS-OIG, HSI, and IRS Criminal Investigation paints a grim portrait of healthcare fraud, underscoring the serious implications on both the healthcare system and public health.

If convicted, He and Brody face up to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances counts, as per the Office of Public Affairs. The case falls under the purview of notable legal professionals, including Principal Assistant Chief Jacob Foster and Trial Attorney Raymond Beckering III of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristina Green, Katherine Lloyd-Lovett, and Lloyd Farnham for the Northern District of California. As the legal process unfolds, accused parties remain innocent until proven guilty. Anyone with pertinent information related to the case is encouraged to report to the DEA hotline at 646-466-5159.