By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON (Reuters) - Two people with connections to a compounding pharmacy that was involved in a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012 on Friday pleaded guilty to having illegally withdrawn cash from accounts in order to avoid financial reporting requirements.
Carla Conigliaro, the majority owner of the New England Compounding Center (NECC) where prosecutors said officials had knowingly shipped contaminated steroids across the country, pleaded guilty to having made 11 structured cash withdrawals in 27 days in order to prevent TD Bank from making currency transaction reports on her $4,600.75 of withdrawals.
NECC had produced the contaminated vials that were used to treat patients with back pain and sparked the deadliest meningitis outbreak in U.S. history, killing 64 and sickening about 750 people.
Her husband, Douglas Conigliaro, pleaded guilty to having made 92 withdrawals. Together the couple admitted to having withdrawn roughly $124,000 in structured cash transactions, the U.S. Attorney in Boston said in a statement.
The government initially accused the couple of criminal contempt in connection with $33 million in transfers to eight different bank accounts after NECC went into bankruptcy.
The couple was not charged with having played an active role in the operations or management of NECC.
Barry Cadden, NECC's head pharmacist and a part of its ownership group, and Glenn Chin, a supervisory pharmacist, were charged with 25 murders in seven states and are expected to go on trial early next year.
The Conigliaros, who live in Dedham, Massachusetts and Winter Park, Florida are expected to be sentenced on Nov. 1. While the maximum sentencing guidelines would be prison terms, the government said in court documents that Carla would be placed under probation while Douglas would face no time in prison.
NECC shut down in October 2012 and filed for bankruptcy two months later under a barrage of lawsuits.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Bernard Orr)