Defendant used social media persona “musclehead320” to promote steroid sales
BOSTON – A Shrewsbury man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston for his role in a conspiracy to traffic counterfeit steroids, including testosterone and trenbolone, to bodybuilders.
Tyler Bauman, a/k/a “musclehead320,” 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute counterfeit testosterone, trenbolone, and other steroid compounds; conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit drugs; conspiracy to launder money; possession with intent to distribute controlled substances (steroids); and trafficking in counterfeit drugs. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Nov. 29, 2017.
In April 2017, Bauman and five others were arrested and charged with various offenses related to the steroid operation. According to court documents, from approximately May 2015 until April 12, 2017, the defendants manufactured steroid products - made from raw materials purchased overseas - and marketed them as “Onyx” steroids using “Onyx” labels that were also ordered from overseas suppliers. Onyx, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen Inc., was a global biopharmaceutical company that did not manufacture steroids.
Bauman had a robust social media following on Instagram and other social media platforms under the moniker “musclehead320” and derivations of that name. Baumann used the “musclehead 320” persona to promote Onyx by claiming to be an “Onyx Sponsored Athlete.” As “musclehead 320,” he publicly denied any suggestion that he was directly involved with making or selling Onyx; however, at the same time, he was in fact marketing Onyx injectable steroids through other social media accounts, including Instagram accounts in the name of “onyx_roid” and “onyxpharma.” Through these accounts, Bauman provided customers with email addresses to place orders, received steroid orders, and then communicated with customers via these email addresses.
Baumann directed other members of the conspiracy to ship steroids to customers using the U.S. Postal Service. Customers paid for the steroids via money remitters, such as Western Union and MoneyGram. Baumann then directed other members of the conspiracy to pick up payments at multiple remitter locations using false identifications to attempt to avoid suspicion while picking up the significant proceeds.
Bauman purchased both the oral steroids (tablets) and the raw materials to manufacture the injectable steroids from overseas suppliers. He also ordered the counterfeit Onyx labeling and packaging from overseas suppliers. The injectable steroids advertised and sold by the members of this conspiracy bore trademarks of Onyx Pharmaceuticals.
Further, Bauman also laundered proceeds from the steroid sales through Wicked Tan LLC, a tanning salon located in Beverly, which he and a co-conspirator owned and operated specifically to launder the proceeds of the steroid operation.
The charges of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit drugs and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss of the conspiracy. The charge of possession of a controlled substance provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss of the conspiracy. The charge of trafficking in counterfeit drugs provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $5 million. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss of the conspiracy. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Harman Burkart and David J. D’Addio of Weinreb’s Cybercrime Unit are prosecuting the case.