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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Chad Livdahl and Zahra Karim. They are husband and wife naturopathic physicians. This couple pled guilty in federal court yesterday to one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud. Mr. Livdahl and Ms. Zarim were accused of selling fake botox that paralyzed and also nearly killed a Palm Beach Gardens.

Isn't the first rule of medicine- Do no harm. This couple apparently forgot that either lost in greed or through stupidity. Neither way truly matters, for selling a fake and dangerous product Chad Livdahl and Zahra Karim are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Open Post- Political Teen, Don Surber, Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog, Third World County

FORT LAUDERDALE — Two more plea bargains were entered Monday in federal criminal cases related to illegal sales of botulinum toxin used for mixing the kind of fake Botox that paralyzed and almost killed a Palm Beach Gardens couple just before Thanksgiving last year.

A husband-and-wife team of naturopathic physicians, Chad Livdahl, 35, and Zahra Karim, 34, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud through mail and wire transactions and one count each of fraud for selling two vials of "Mimic Botox" from their Tucson, Ariz.-based company to a North Miami clinic, then illegally shipping the toxin by UPS.

They owned and operated a company called Toxin Research International Inc. that sold botulinum toxin to Dr. Bach McComb, the unlicensed osteopathic physician who pleaded guilty last week to related charges in exchange for a government offer to drop numerous charges and recommend that he be sentenced to probation or up to three years in prison. McComb faced up to 28 years in prison before the plea deal.

In exchange for their pleas, Livdahl and Karim agreed to assist prosecutors "in all proceedings, whether administrative or judicial," in the forfeiture of their business property, which included records of illegal promotion and sales of botulinum not approved for use in humans to as many as 200 doctors around the country. The pair will assist prosecutors in other jurisdictions investigating "offenses involving mimic or fake Botox," the plea agreement also says.

The U.S. attorney's office agreed to drop 38 related charges against Livdahl and Karim, who also is known as Anna Tessem, when they are sentenced by U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn on Jan. 26, the same date as McComb's sentencing.

McComb admitted when he pleaded guilty that he injected himself; his girlfriend, Alma "A.J." Hall; and Dr. Eric Kaplan and his wife, Bonnie, with fake Botox last year, causing all four to incur severe paralysis.

The injections that McComb mixed turned out to have a much higher concentration of botulinum than what is used safely in real Botox.

Their botulism poisonings triggered a federal investigation that found TRI had sold its fake product to at least 219 doctors nationwide and that more than 1,000 patients had been injected with it. TRI made $1.5 million in profit from the fake shots, court documents indicate.

Livdahl and Karim face nine to 11 years each in prison, with the government agreeing not to object to their request that they be allowed to serve their sentences in Arizona. They also must turn over $600,000 in cashier's checks, $220,000 of the equity in Tucson real estate and $41,565 from the bank accounts of two related companies.

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