BOISE, Idaho - The founder of an online fitness and bodybuilding company in Idaho pleaded guilty Monday to illegally selling misbranded dietary supplements that contained steroids, according to federal prosecutors.
Ryan Deluca, CEO of Meridian-based Bodybuilding.com, also agreed in a plea deal to pay a $500,000 fine for the company’s sale of five products between 2007 and 2009 that contained synthetic anabolic steroids or chemical clones of steroids.
DeLuca, 34, acknowledged the five products - I Force Methadrol, Nutra Costal D-Stianozol, I Force Dymethazine, Rage RV5 and Genetic Edge Technologies SUS500 - were drugs sold improperly under the label of “dietary supplements.”
“DeLuca acknowledged at the plea hearing that as Bodybuilding.com’s CEO, he was responsible for Bodybuilding.com’s sales of misbranded products,” prosecutors said in a statement.
The company generated $1.8 million through the first seven and a half months of 2009 from the falsely labeled products and other similar substances, according to court records.
Bodybuilding.com CEO Ryan Deluca agreed Monday to pay a $500,000 fine for the Meridian-based company’s sale of five products between 2007 and 2009 that contained synthetic anabolic steroids or chemical clones of steroids.
Each of the five misdemeanor violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act carries up to a year in prison, but in the plea bargain, prosecutors are recommending probation.
Federal officials raided the company’s headquarters in 2009 following a two-year investigation that involved a special agent for the FDA buying 23 products from the company that tested positive for anabolic steroids.
Many of the products were neither safe nor legal and by selling them, the company was “misleading, defrauding and endangering its customers,” according to the agent.
The FDA cited reports that men between 22 and 55 who had used such products have suffered liver problems, stroke, kidney failure and blockage of an artery in the lung, called a pulmonary embolism.
A company spokesman said the organization had not been manufacturing the products in question.
DeLuca will be sentenced in a U.S. District Court in Boise on June 20.