BOSTON – Authorities have seized over $18 million from the owners of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the centre of a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said the funds were seized from 13 different financial institutions as a result of seizure warrants unsealed Tuesday.
About $16.8 million was frozen in accounts connected to husband-and-wife Douglas and Carla Conigliaro of Dedham. Carla Conigliaro was a majority shareholder at the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center in Framingham.
The Conigliaros have been charged with transferring assets following the outbreak, which was traced to tainted steroid injections made by the company.
According to Ortiz’s office, the Conigliaros transferred millions of dollars the same month that their company surrendered its pharmacy license and shortly before the company petitioned for bankruptcy. They also allegedly transferred millions more after a bankruptcy court issued two orders prohibiting them from transferring any assets.
Authorities say they seized another $1.5 million from accounts held by Barry Cadden, the company’s co-founder and a shareholder.
Cadden faces 25 counts of second-degree murder and is among 14 former employees charged in a federal racketeering conspiracy that authorities say is the largest U.S. criminal case ever brought over contaminated medicine.
New England Compounding Center employees are accused of using expired ingredients and failing to follow cleanliness standards, resulting in tainted steroid injections. More than 750 people in 20 states fell ill and 64 died. All 14 defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.