Starting an under-the-radar business selling bogus Viagra and calling it "Erection Connection," as 48-year-old Charles Anthony Johnson of Dallas did, kind of sounds like a joke. The federal government, however, isn't laughing.
Johnson was charged last August with a dozen counts of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods and peddle misbranded drugs. His indictment was the culmination of a year's worth of investigative work. After Addison police arrested him with a car packed full of fake Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration and local law enforcement agencies set up a sophisticated sting operation.
The operation consisted mostly of undercover cops posing as gentlemen in need of a boost, shall we say, and arranging to buy boner pills from Johnson through his ads on the Internet. They made an arrest last March when he sold 30 pills of fake Cialis to an Irving police officer for $150. That's when they found the business cards in his pocket identifying him as the sole proprietor of "Erection Connection."
In November, Johnson pleaded guilty to a single count of aiding and abetting the trafficking of counterfeit goods, which reduced the length of his possible sentence from six decades to just one.
Still, Jones will serve a considerable amount of time behind bars. Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday afternoon that a judge sentenced Jones to 37 months in prison and forced to pay $633,019 to pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, Bayer, and Eli Lilly, whose patents he ripped off.