State Pharmacy Inspector Arrested for Accepting Unlawful Compensation

Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agents have arrested an inspector with the Florida Department of Health for allegedly charging pharmacies, providers and consultants a fee for expediting and successfully passing their inspections.

Johanna Estrada, 37, of Miami was arrested today and charged with three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, a second-degree felony. If convicted, Estrada could face up to 15 years on each count.

The investigation began in October 2008 when agents received information that Estrada was charging a fee for expediting and successfully passing inspections of new and existing pharmacies. These inspections are conducted free of charge by the Florida Department of Health as a means of making sure that the pharmacies comply with state health standards. The fees charged ranged from $500 to $1,000 per inspection.

On three occasions between October and January, FDLE agents set up surveillance outside of the pharmacies Estrada was due to inspect. Each time, an undercover witness met with Estrada at the pharmacy to conduct the inspection. According to agents, each inspection passed with no issues and Estrada was given $500 per inspection.

Estrada was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a $20,000 bond.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Perezluha or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001