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Wearing leg irons and guarded by federal agents, David Whitaker posed as an agent for online drug dealers in dozens of recorded phone calls and email exchanges with Google sales executives, spending $200,000 in government money for ads selling narcotics, steroids and other controlled substances.
Over four months in 2009, Mr. Whitaker, a federal prisoner and convicted con artist, was the lead actor in a government sting targeting Google Inc. that yielded one of the largest business forfeitures in U.S. history.
The government built its criminal case against Google using money, aliases and fake companies—tactics often used against drug cartels and other crime syndicates, according to interviews and court documents. Google agreed to pay a $500 million forfeiture last summer in a settlement to avoid prosecution for aiding illegal online pharmaceutical sales.
In an important shift, the settlement "signals that, where evidence can be developed that a search engine knowingly and actively assisted advertisers to promote improper conduct, the search engine can be held accountable as an accomplice," according to Peter Neronha, the lead prosecutor.
But in all fairness to Google, you cannot tell me that facebook and similar companies are not doing the same thing.
Illegal is illegal, right?!
Shows the long arm of the US pharmaceutical cartel. You should see how they treat American seniors returning from Canada when they suspect that they visited a pharmacy during their trip north.
Irrespective of the story, it goes to show that Google's power is upsetting a lot of folks who are highly motivated to bring them into "balance"
When the sting began in 2009, Google had in place policies designed to block illicit pharmaceutical advertising. Whitaker's orders were initially rejected under those policies. But Whitaker says Google sales reps helped him tweak his sites to skirt the rules.
According to federal prosecutor Peter Neronha, internal documents obtained by investigators demonstrate that senior Google executives, including now-CEO Larry Page, "knew what was going on." Before she left for Facebook in 2008, Sheryl Sandberg reportedly raised concerns about the sale of illicit pharmaceutical ads.
Google hate or Google pay-back is not constructive to the conversation. It's not personal unless "you", a rhetorical "you", were part of the problem selling illegal products and sadly miss your income.
internal documents obtained by investigators demonstrate that senior Google executives, including now-CEO Larry Page, "knew what was going on.
It is hard to believe that Google just willingly ran ads they knew to be illegal.
Apparently you didn't bother to read the article. This has nothing to do with Big Pharma or U.S. seniors trying to afford their blood pressure meds.
Definitely provided what the users wanted, which is their mantra, n'est pas?
the forfeiture paid by Google represented not just the money it made from the ads, but also the revenue collected by illegal pharmacies through Google-related sales.