“FedEx knew that it was delivering drugs to dealers and addicts,” reads a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in an indictment against the entire FedEx shipping company. For its part, FedEx has stated, “We are a transportation company – we are not law enforcement.”
FedEx is pleading ignorance. But the indictment describes various bureaucratic procedures which FedEx had created to be able to knowingly distribute drugs, allegedly. It’s one continuous string of amateur mistakes.
Purportedly, FedEx’s credit department was issued new guidelines, requiring online pharmacies to put down security deposits. They were also issued much more restrictive credit guidelines. Why? The pharmacies kept getting raided and shut down by law enforcement — that left FedEx with lots of unpaid balances.
#protip: Do NOT create a special “Online Pharmacy Credit Policy” just wink wink and nudge nudge your employees.
Salespeople were also getting screwed. The ephemeral nature of online pharmacies meant salespeople couldn’t meet their yearly quotas. So FedEx created a new “catchall” category which did not affect sales goals. A Senior Sales Analyst sent an e-mail explaining their new policies, writing:
This type of business is general very volatile in nature. There are often numerous large volume shifts associated with internet pharmacies as they move the shipping location often to avoid detection from the DEA.
#protip: Do NOT acknowledge the government agency responsible for shutting down your customers. Just drop them into the category without noting why.
FedEx employees had even entered the premises of an illegal online pharmacy, saw them packing up controlled substances, and then helped ship them. An employee raised concerns to management that recipients were “known to be selling and using,” and that “some of the recipients have overdosed and died.”
#protip: Do NOT directly help your client package their drugs. You can’t claim ignorance that way.
The indictment goes on, stating that FedEx delivery people felt threatened by addicts jumping into their trucks to demand packages, or delivering to a “parking lot, school, or vacant home where several car loads of people were waiting…” In response, FedEx decided to create a procedure by which problematic shippers’ packages were held for pickup instead of being delivered.
#protip: Do NOT create a procedure for holding packages to scary addicts who are threatening drivers.
While I know bureaucracies love formal procedures for everything, shouldn’t FedEx have gotten a Crime Comptroller to go through everyone’s emails and delete incriminating ones, or walk around the office to tear up memos with the words “to avoid detection from the DEA”?
Last year, UPS agreed to forfeit $40 million in a “non-prosecution agreement,” or the legal equivalent of “sorry, not sorry.” FedEx seems to be doubling down on their ignorance defence, hiring the same lawyers who defended Barry Bonds. The U.S. is looking for $820 million in damages. Of course, that may not mean too much to FedEx, which made over $45 billion in revenue last year.