A former employee of Global Health and Fitness on Elm Road in Warren was arraigned Tuesday morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, accused of helping a 22-year-old Bazetta Township man sell anabolic steroids.
The identities of customers who bought the illegal drugs have not been released by prosecutors or investigators, and charges against them are not planned, investigators said.
Randy A. McCale, 46, of Neil Street in Niles, pleaded not guilty to felony corruption for helping operate the enterprise and five counts of identity fraud for purportedly providing personal information about current and former Global Fitness customers to at least one other person in the enterprise.
Investigators said McCale provided a list of names, birthdates, Social Security numbers and other personal information to Joseph A. Stiver, 22, of Cadwallader-Sonk Road in Bazetta Township.
Stiver used the information to create PayPal accounts in their names that then were used to pay for the illegal steroids, according to an affidavit unsealed in the case.
McCale was released from custody after agreeing to a list of conditions imposed by the county Adult Probation Department.
Stiver pleaded not guilty Monday to 17 charges, including corruption, four counts of identity fraud, eight counts of drug trafficking and four counts of tampering with evidence. Judge Ronald Rice reduced Stiver’s bond to $50,000, but he remained in jail Tuesday afternoon.
Stiver and McCale face the possibility of more than 10 years in prison. The affidavit said McCale and Stiver cooperated with investigators with the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force, which investigated the enterprise.
Bill Myers, owner of Global Fitness, said McCale used to work the front desk at Global Fitness.
Myers said the personal information McCale released was for former club members, who were notified of the data breach, and none of them has experienced any problems as a result, he said.
Prosecutors said the 140 people whose information was released were “innocent victims.” Investigators spoke with several of the victims, and all said they didn’t know Stiver.
The use of steroids by body builders is widespread and occurs in “any gym all over the world,” he said, adding that steroids are “out there everywhere.”
He said athletes of all kinds “try to get away with things like that,” but he added of the criminal charges and investigation, “Hopefully it will wake all these guys up.”
Myers said he has had “no problem of any kind” during 17 years of operating fitness centers and doesn’t expect this to hurt his business. He didn’t know Stiver, he added.
Investigators said Stiver sold anabolic steroids through a national Internet business called Mutagenic with help from McCale and others.
Stiver ran the website from cellphones and computers and had more than $175,000 stashed in a briefcase in the attic above his bedroom of the home on Cadwallader-Sonk where he lives with his parents.
Investigators say their investigation began Dec. 11, 2013, when Bazetta police investigated a break-in at E-Z Self Storage, which is near Global Fitness, and found a “workshop.”
Inside, they later determined, were boxes of Testosterone Cypionate, which is an anabolic steroid or performance-enhancing drug.
Also found were hypodermic needles, pills and a piece of notebook paper containing handwritten Social Security numbers.
The information led to McCale and Stiver, who later told authorities he arranged to have steroids delivered to distributors by mailing them to customers.
Abuse of anabolic steroids has been linked to health problems such as acne, breast growth and shrinking of testicles in men, high blood pressure, heart problems, liver disease, cancer, kidney damage and aggressive behavior, according to the National Institutes of Health.
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