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US police cash in on $500m Google fine

Cops that nabbed the search firm get to share the dosh
Tue Apr 03 2012, 12:00

A $500M FINE levied against Google for accepting advertisements from online Canadian pharmacies targeting US consumers will be given back to the same police authorities that brought the internet search giant to book.

The company was slapped with a $500m fine for allowing online Canadian pharmacies to place advertisements through its Adwords advertising service that were aimed at consumers in the United States. This resulted in the unlawful importation of prescription drugs into the United States.

US attorneys Peter Neronha and Kathleen Martin-Weis, acting director of the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA/OCI) reported today that the reallocation of these funds under the Federal Equitable Sharing Program has been approved.

This will see the majority of the $500m forfeiture distributed to local and state law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island that participated in the investigation of Google that resulted in the fine in the first place. The distribution of the local and state shares of the funds will begin after the recipients submit spending plans for permissible law enforcement related expenditures.

Approximately $330m will be shared among nine local, state and federal agencies, with the majority of the funds distributed to local and state law enforcement agencies. The sharing of funds is determined based upon the time and resources each agency provided to the investigation.

The remaining $170m will be deposited into the Department of Justice's Assets Forfeiture Fund, which is a national account used to pay necessary expenses associated with forfeiture operations such as property seizure, detention, management, forfeiture, and disposal.

The move comes after an investigation by the US Attorney's Office in the District of Rhode Island and the FDA/OCI Rhode Island Task Force revealed that as early as 2003, Google was on notice that online Canadian pharmacies were advertising prescription drugs to Google users in the US through Google's Adwords advertising service. µ


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