CRIME: Florida Corporation And Executives Plead Guilty To Conspiracy To Sell Anabolic Steroids And Unlawful Dietary Supplements

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Blackstone Labs LLC (“Blackstone”) and two of its executives pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell illegal anabolic steroids and other unlawful products marketed as dietary supplements, the Justice Department announced.

According to court documents, Phillip Braun, 40, from Boca Raton and Aaron Singerman 41, both of Delray Beach, Florida founded and ran Blackstone, a Boca Raton-based retailer of dietary supplements and sports equipment. Braun is Blackstone’s former President and CEO, while Singerman was the former CEO.

On Nov. 17, Braun and Singerman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. SSSS 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(E), and 846, and to selling unapproved new drugs, in violation of 21 U.S.C. SSSS 331(d), 355(a), and 333(a)(2). On Nov. 19, Blackstone Labs pleaded guilty to the same charges as Braun and Singerman, as well as to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to commit mail and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. SS 371.

In pleading guilty Braun and Singerman admitted they were part of a conspiracy to market products through Blackstone that were marketed as dietary supplements, but were in fact controlled substances or drugs not approved by FDA. Blackstone also made similar admissions and admitted to defrauding the FDA and consumers by selling illegal supplements falsely claimed to be dietary supplements.

The defendants specifically admitted that they conspired from 2012 to 2017, to sell products that were not approved new drugs or illegal controlled substances as per the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act. They also admitted that their products were not legal and safe dietary supplements. They also falsely claimed that their products were manufactured in FDA-approved registered facilities and that they adhered to all regulations. They also admitted that they controlled a supplement manufacturer that illegally imported raw materials from China. Braun and Singerman admitted selling other products that violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which included synthetic stimulants DMAA and DMBA, and “nootropic chemical picamilon”. The defendants did not respond to any consumer complaints about injury and failed to notify FDA when it was required by law. The defendants agreed to forfeit all proceeds from these crimes as part of their plea agreements. Singerman forfeited $2.9 million, Braun forfeited $3 million, and Blackstone forfeited $1 million.

Dietary supplements are regulated in order to protect American consumers’ health,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton from the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will pursue individuals and companies that sell dangerous products and misrepresent they are legal dietary supplements

“Consumers of dietary supplements expect them to be safe. “When they contain drugs that have not been approved by FDA, the public’s health is at risk,” stated Acting Director Catherine A. Hermsen of FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who place consumers’ health in jeopardy.”

Braun and Singerman are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27, 2022, in Ft. Lauderdale before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas of the Southern District of Florida. Both face a maximum penalty of 13 years in prison. After considering the U.S., Judge Dimitrouleas will decide any sentence. The Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. Blackstone is also scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27, 2022.

Four other defendants were previously indicted in connection to a conspiracy against the FDA, distribution of unapproved drugs and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. They pleaded guilty. On Nov. 1, the trial of one remaining defendant will begin. 23.

The case was investigated by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations. The cases are being prosecuted by Alistair Reader and Steven Gripkey as Trial Attorneys. Assistant Director John W. Burke of Justice Department, Civil Division and Consumer Protection Branch, and Assistant U.S. attorney Daren Grove of the Southern District of Florida.

An indictment is not a charge. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court.

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