FedEx could get $1.6 bil fine if found guilty of federal charges

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There are lots of questions after the federal indictment of FedEx yesterday.

No one is named specifically in the complaint, so how do you indict a company?

FedEx could be slapped with more than $1.6 billion fine if it is convicted of trafficking drugs to dealers and addicts.

The Memphis-based company faces fifteen different counts for allegedly shipping prescription pills for illegal internet pharmacies.

The Department of Justice said FedEx sent drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone across the country for two illegal online pharmacies for the last decade.

The feds said the shipping company ignored their warnings, and even "departed from its usual business practices" to allow the drug trade to continue.

"Nobody is going to go to jail. It is strictly financial if FedEx was found guilty," said former U.S. attorney David Kustoff.

Kustoff said more than likely, FedEx will work out a deal with the feds to pay a fine and add new compliance policies.

If that doesn't happen, the company could be forced to pay $1.6 billion.

"The federal government claims that FedEx made profits of over $800 million, and they could pay double that amount of money if those figures are true," said Kustoff.

WREG requested to speak with someone at FedEx, but they declined our offer and referred us to Thursday's statement, which said they will fight the charges.

"FedEx transports more than 10 million packages a day. The privacy of our customers is essential to the core of our business. This privacy is now at risk, based on the charges by the Department of Justice related to the transportation of prescription medications...

We want to be clear what’s at stake here: the government is suggesting that FedEx assume criminal responsibility for the legality of the contents of the millions of packages that we pick up and deliver every day. We are a transportation company – we are not law enforcement. We have no interest in violating the privacy of our customers. We continue to stand ready and willing to support and assist law enforcement. We cannot, however, do the job of law enforcement ourselves," said Patrick Fitzgerald, FedEx senior vice president marketing and communications.

FedEx is due in court July 29.


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