We continuously get asked, “where do users get their steroids?”Â Most users get their “juice” at gyms or on the Internet.Â Occasionally, doctors are writing prescriptions for this poison.Â In this case, the local pharmacy was working in tandem withÂ a doctor . . . . they were making a lot of money selling these drugs.
At least one person died as a direct result of this doctor’s shameless behavior.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Staten Island doctor on trial for allegedly giving steroids to patients — 19 city cops and bodybuilders, including a heart transplant recipient from Westerleigh who later died — pleaded guilty today.
Richard Lucente, 38, admitted in Brooklyn Supreme Court that he received kickbacks from Lowen’s Pharmacy in Bay Ridge for sending patients to the drugstore to fill prescriptions.
The drugstore was co-owned by John Rossi of Eltingville, who killed himself in January 2008 shortly after a federal raid on the business uncovered $8 million worth of human growth hormone and anabolic steroids.
Prosecutors had previously claimed Lucente — who had a Dongan Hills office and ran the New York Anti-Aging and Wellness Center in West Brighton — received about $27,000 from Lowen’s and netted nearly $530,000 from 220 clients between 2005 and 2007.
Lucente, facing 30 years if convicted, pleaded guilty to once count of conspiracy before Justice Abraham Gerges.
He was given five years’ probation, 200 hours of community service and willÂ surrender his medical license.
“He is a convicted felon,” prosecutor Michael Spanakos told media outlets. “He is not writing prescriptions.”
Lucente had also been charged with reckless endangerment for his alleged responsibility in the death of 39-year-old bodybuilder Joseph Baglio.
For a fee of about $500 per month, Lucente had treated Baglio in his “wellness program” between 2005 and 2007, giving him anabolic steroids and human growth hormone for a supposed testosterone deficiency.
Baglio, who had received a heart transplant in late 2004, died of heart failure on March 8, 2007.
Lucente told reporters outside of court that he took the plea deal to avoid jail time and because he has a young son.
The trial began March 4 and had been expected to last at least six weeks, including testimony from city and federal investigators, three of Lucente’s former patients, an official from the state Department of Health and dozens of medical experts, including a Los Angeles doctor who helped create Major League Baseball drug testing policy.