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Alleged fed action against San Diego pharmacies was an elaborate hoax

July 31, 2012 | 11:13 am

An email announcement purporting to reveal a federal crackdown on San Diego pharmacies for a suspicious level of drug sales was a hoax, the U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday.

The announcement was on letterhead similar to that of the U.S. attorney's office and provided a telephone number for reporters to call for additional information. The man answering that number identified himself as an assistant U.S. attorney and praised the crackdown as "novel and bold." The Times and other news organizations reported the "crackdown."

In the hoax, U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy was purported to announce a crackdown on 20 pharmacies to include a variety of enforcement actions.

No such crackdown is underway, the U.S. attorney's office said in a telephone conversation several hours after the hoax email began arriving at news agencies.

"We did not issue those press releases," Duffy said. "We are looking into the source of those emails."


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