Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 10, 2022
ABINGDON, Va. – A New Jersey chiropractor was sentenced to eight months of imprisonment for distributing steroid-like drugs as purported dietary supplements, the Department of Justice announced today.
Nicholas Andrew Puccio, 41, of Columbus, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in June 2021 to distributing unapproved new drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consumers. In connection with his sentence, Puccio paid a forfeiture money judgment of $150,000 related to proceeds from his sales of illicit products. U.S. District Judge James P. Jones of the Western District of Virginia also ordered Puccio to pay a $10,000 fine.
In pleading guilty, Puccio admitted that, from 2016 to 2020, he marketed drugs as “dietary supplements” to the body-building and fitness community. The purported supplements included a product labeled as containing ostarine, a type of synthetic steroid known as a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM). The FDA has warned against the use of SARMs, including stating in a 2017 warning letter to another firm that SARMs have been linked to life-threatening reactions, like liver toxicity, and that they have the potential to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
“The public – and especially athletes – need to know and understand the risks associated with taking drugs labeled as dietary supplements. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia will continue to pursue criminal charges and seek to hold accountable those who choose to profit from selling unapproved drugs while recklessly disregarding the health risks to the consumers.”
The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Ramseyer for the Western District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Speare Hodges of the Department of Justice Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch prosecuted the case.
USAO - Virginia, Western