BOISE - Federal authorities say on Monday, 34-year-old Bodybuilding.com founder and CEO Ryan DeLuca took a plea deal in federal court in exchange for a reduced sentence for charges connected to misbranding dietary supplements.
According to U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson, DeLuca pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of introduction and delivery for introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
The five charges are all violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Olson said as part of the plea deal, DeLuca agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and federal prosecutors agreed not to push for a prison sentence.
More specifically, the plea agreement states that between 2007 and 2009, the company knowingly sold five products as dietary supplements when they were actually drugs under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The five products were: I Force Methadrol, Nutra Costal D-Stianozol, I Force Dymethazine, Rage RV5, and Genetic Edge Technologies (GET) SUS500.
Federal attorneys report that Bodybuilding.com profited over $1.8 million dollars from these and similar products.
Also according to the plea agreement, the products were actually drugs because they either contained synthetic anabolic steroids or clones of similar chemicals.
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 he was responsible for the drug misbranding.
He could get up to one year in prison, one year of supervised release, up to five years of probation, and a maximum fine of $100,000 for each count.
Sentencing in the case is set for June 20, in Boise before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
Bodybuilding.com issued this statement on Tuesday;
“We are aware of the latest developments in the ongoing investigation into products carried by Bodybuilding.com. Since this matter emerged two and a half years ago, Bodybuilding.com has cooperated fully with the FDA and US Attorney’s Office. In an abundance of caution, we also conducted a prompt, voluntary recall of all the supplements in question and bolstered our compliance programs within the company and with our suppliers to ensure the high integrity of the products we offer out consumers. Bodybuilding.com will vigorously defend itself from any unwarranted charges in the ongoing investigation. The misdemeanor plea agreement reached by Bodybuilding.com’s founder was a personal decision and does not change Bodybuilding.com’s position.”