Ryan DeLuca, the founder and CEO of Bodybuilding.com, pleaded guilty to five Class A misdemeanor charges arising from a criminal investigation into Bodybuilding.com‘s sale of products containing “synthetic anabolic steroids or synthetic chemical ‘clones’ of anabolic steroids which were not dietary ingredients” between June 2007 and September 2009. Federal agents raided Bodybuilding.com’s corporate offices and warehouses over 2-1/2 years ago on September 24, 2009.
The five counts of a “Class A misdemeanor of introduction and delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of drugs which were misbranded” involved the following five products:
- iForce Methadrol (Superdrol aka methyldrostanolone or methasterone),
- Nutra Costal D-Stianozol (Madol aka DMT or desoxymethyltestosterone),
- iForce Dymethazine (Superdrol aka methyldrostanolone or methasterone),
- Rage RV5 (labeled as containing Madol and Superdrol but actually containing 4-androstenedione)
- Genetic Edge Technologies (GET) SUS500 (Tren aka 19-Nor-4,9(10)-androstadienedione)
It should be noted that these synthetic steroids are not legally classified as “controlled substances” under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act. They are unapproved new drugs or misbranded drugs under federal law.
Federal agents seized laptop computers, desktops and related computer-based evidence from numerous high-level Bodybuilding.com employees in September 2009. Deluca’s plea agreement indicated that corporate officers may have been aware that they were selling synthetic anabolic steroids and cognizant of the risks associated with selling them as early as 2008 and 2009.
The government’s smoking gun was evidence that Joe Guilliams, the FDA/FTC Compliance Officer at Bodybuilding.com, had notified management, including DeLuca, that these synthetic steroid products failed to qualify as “dietary supplements” under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
Bodybuilding.com sold $1.8 million in synthetic steroidal supplement during the first 7-1/2 months of 2009 alone. The total amount of revenue generated from the sale of misbranded and unapproved new steroidal drugs during the several years prior to 2009 has not been reported.
DeLuca agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and federal prosecutors promised to recommend probation instead of prison during sentencing.
The maximum penalty for each Class A misdemeanor is imprisonment of up to one year, a term of supervised release of one year, probation of up to five years and a maximum fine of $100,000.
DeLuca is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief United States District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise (Idaho) on June 20, 2012.
DeLuca retained his own legal presentation, independent of Bodybuilding.com, to negotiate a deal with federal prosecutors.
“This agreement applies only to Ryan DeLuca, in his personal capacity, and not to any other person or entity,” according to court documents.
This leaves open the possibility that the corporate entity of Bodybuilding.com and its other corporate officers may still face potential charges and fines. If a corporate plea is in the works, a forfeiture in the millions of dollars could be seen.
During the course of the undercover federal criminal steroid investigation, Liberty Media, the owner of the QVC home-shopping network, purchased an 83% controlling stake in Bodybuilding.com from the DeLuca family. They paid over $100 million in January 2008.
Plea Agreement. United States of America vs. Ryan DeLuca. Case No. CR 12-0090-SBLW