Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
April 10, 2012: Founder of Bodybuilding.com Pleads Guilty to Selling Misbranded Drugs as Dietary Supplements
BOISE – Bodybuilding.com founder and CEO Ryan DeLuca, 34, of Eagle, Idaho, pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Boise to five misdemeanor counts of introduction and delivery for introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. The five charges are all violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. As part of the plea, DeLuca agreed to pay a $500,000 fine. The United States agreed to recommend that DeLuca receive probation and not be sentenced to any prison term.
The plea agreement states that during the time DeLuca served as Bodybuilding.com's chief executive officer between 2007 and 2009, the company sold five products as dietary supplements when they were actually drugs under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. According to the plea agreement, the products were drugs because they contained synthetic anabolic steroids or synthetic chemical “clones” of anabolic steroids that were not dietary supplements and because they were labeled and promoted as products intended to affect the structure and function of the human body. The five products were: I Force Methadrol, Nutra Costal D-Stianozol, I Force Dymethazine, Rage RV5, and Genetic Edge Technologies (GET) SUS500.
The plea agreement states that in the first seven and one-half months of 2009, Bodybuilding.com had gross revenue of almost $1.8 million from the sale of products similar to those DeLuca admitted were improperly sold as dietary supplements. The plea agreement further states that during 2008 and 2009, the FDA compliance officer at Bodybuilding.com informed Bodybuilding.com's management, including DeLuca, that some of their products contained ingredients that did not qualify as dietary ingredients.
Under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, an individual in a business who has responsibility and authority either to prevent or correct a violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is strictly liable for a misdemeanor criminal violation of the Act, regardless of the extent of his knowledge of the violations. DeLuca acknowledged at the plea hearing that as Bodybuilding.com's CEO, he was responsible for Bodybuilding.com's sales of misbranded products.
Each count is punishable by up to one year in prison, up to one year of supervised release, up to five years of probation, and a maximum fine of $100,000.
Sentencing is set for June 20, 2012, in Boise before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
The case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.
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