Braun, Singerman Indictments
After the Department of Justice announced on March 13, 2019 the indictment of six individuals including PJ Braun and Aaron Singerman formerly of Blackstone Labs for spiking supplements with anabolic steroids and consumer fraud Braun the CEO of Blackstone fired back “The government intends to destroy the weight lifting industry by making it hard for lifters to use legal nutritional supplements.” Braun in a news release went on to state, “We intend to prevail” against the federal government in our righteous defense of the industry, The news release did not refute the presence of anabolic steroid spiking, but claimed their ingredients were akin to naturally occurring Picamilon while wrapping Blackstone's battle in the flag (or gym towel) as one that pits them as the defender of every one who lifts weights while the DOJ is set to prosecute based on controlled substance spiking of mislabeled products and fraud. No word as yet from Aaron Singerman, CEO of RedCon1. Meanwhile bodybuilding news websites including Muscular Development have deleted any postings by fans of the news on their industry forum as Singerman spreads lots of advertising dollars around to most all the NPC & Pro League media websites.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 LINK
Six Individuals and Two Companies Charged in Illegal Dietary Supplement Scheme
Six people and two Florida corporations were charged in an indictment for their roles in a scheme to distribute illegal dietary supplements, the Department of Justice announced today.
Phillip Braun, 38, of Boca Raton, Florida, Aaron Singerman, 39, of Delray Beach, Florida, Robert DiMaggio, 49, of Henderson, Nevada, Anthony Ventrella, 41, of Boynton Beach, Florida, David Winsauer, 32, of Boca Raton, Florida, and James Boccuzzi, 34, of Parkland, Florida, were charged in a 14-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury in Miami, Florida on March 7, 2019, and was unsealed today. The indictment also charged Blackstone Labs and Ventech Labs, two Florida limited liability companies in Palm Beach County, Florida.
The indictment alleges that the defendants sold hundreds of thousands of illegal products, including anabolic steroids, nationwide and internationally, fraudulently representing that those products and pills were high-quality, legal dietary supplements. According to the indictment, the defendants created an illicit manufacturing company and routed sales of illegal products through trusted distributors, knowing that the products were unsafe or could not legally be sold to consumers.
“Fraud by supplement manufacturers and distributors is extremely dangerous for consumers, who rightly assume that a dietary supplement product sold in stores or online will not contain unapproved drugs,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “These products are not safe and that is why we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who import, manufacture, and distribute dangerous and illegal ingredients for fraudulent purposes.”
“Consumers who use dietary supplements expect those products to be safe. When they contain drugs that are not FDA-approved, the health of the public is put at risk,” said Catherine A. Hermsen, Acting Director, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who place consumers’ health in jeopardy.”
All of the defendants were charged with one count of a conspiracy to defraud consumers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by selling products labeled as dietary supplements that contained unapproved new drugs, illegal steroids, and other ingredients that were hazardous and prohibited by law. The indictment also charges Braun, an owner of Blackstone Labs, and Singerman, a former company owner, with two counts of introducing a product known as Super DMZ RX 2.0, an unapproved new drug, into interstate commerce. The maximum punishment for the conspiracy to defraud is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The maximum punishment for each of the two counts of introducing an unapproved new drug is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
The indictment further charges Braun, Singerman, and six other defendants with one count of a conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, which are Schedule III controlled substances under federal law and which may cause kidney failure, liver damage, and other permanent health problems when misused. The indictment alleges that one person suffered serious bodily injury from the use of one of the steroids involved in the conspiracy. The maximum punishment for the conspiracy to distribute controlled substances is 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
The indictment additionally charges several defendants in three separate counts of distribution of anabolic steroids and charges Ventrella with one count of possession of an anabolic steroid with the intent to distribute. The maximum punishment for each count of distribution of a controlled substance and for the count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute is 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. Finally, Braun and Singerman are each charged with three counts of money laundering. The maximum punishment for each money laundering charge is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of the property involved in the money laundering transaction.
“Illegal dietary supplements pose a public health risk,” stated U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and our partners at the Food and Drug Administration strive to ensure that consumers are fully apprised of the ingredients contained in the substances they are ingesting. Those who attempt to circumvent the law and create a public safety hazard will be held accountable.”
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Alistair Reader and David Frank of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, with assistance from Daren Grove, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The case was investigated by FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations with assistance from Sarah Hawkins of the Office of Chief Counsel.An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl.
Blackstone Labs Responds to Governments Salacious Charges and Vows to Fight Back!
March 14, 2019 LINK TO SOURCE
BOCA RATON, FL., March 14, 2019 -- Blackstone Labs responds to the Government’s false and inaccurate charges against it and several Team Blackstone members by assuring all its worldwide customers it intends to vigorously defend the right of health conscious strength athletes, bodybuilders, and wellness professionals to access and use nutritional supplements that assist in muscle development and body tone. The indictment does not challenge any of Blackstone Labs' current product formulations. At all times, Blackstone has worked diligently to identify nutritional supplements that are wholesome, beneficial, and safe for the body, and it has promoted only products that fully comply with the law and prevailing practices. Blackstone Labs remains open for business.
It is Blackstone’s belief that the government is overreaching in this case because of its ongoing, wrong-headed attack on strength and bodybuilding athletes and the nutritional supplement industry. These false charges are no different from the allegations brought against the dietary ingredient Picamilon, a compound madefrom the naturally occurring dietary ingredients niacin and gamma-aminobutyric acid. Totally ignored by the Government in its assault on the supplement industry is the clear directive of the Food & Drug Act definition of a “dietary supplement” as a product (besides tobacco) that is “intended to supplement the diet” and that contains one or more of the following “dietary ingredients”: (A) a vitamin; (B) a mineral; (C) an herb or other botanical; (D) an amino acid; (E) a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or (F) a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any ingredient described in clause (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E). Picamilon is clearly a dietary supplement and not illegal as it is a product combining a vitamin (niacin) and an amino acid (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Prominent health scientists have confirmed this fact.
Blackstone is fighting back for itself and all its loyal customers and all consumers. This is not our first battle against Government overreach. In October 2018, Blackstone’s lawyers sued the federal government for the return of the seizure of lawful dietary supplements from Blackstone’s warehouse, charging that prosecutors were abusing their power by attempting to force Blackstone to surrender its First Amendment right to distribute lawful dietary supplements.
Blackstone Labs, several of its key executives, including CEO PJ Braun, and former employees declared this week that they are prepared to battle the federal government over the sale and distribution of its dietary supplements. “The government intends to destroy the weight lifting industry by making it hard for lifters to use legal nutritional supplements,” said Blackstone. “That will not happen,” proclaimed Blackstone CEO PJ Braun. “We intend to prevail” against the federal government in our righteous defense of the industry,” according to Mr. Braun.