In a very rare development in the world of supplements, the federal government on Wednesday called on six individuals and two Florida companies in a massive multi-million dollar system to distribute illegal supplements.
"Fraud from supplement manufacturers and distributors It is extremely dangerous for consumers who rightfully believe that a dietary supplement sold in stores or on the Internet does not contain unauthorized drugs," Deputy Attorney General Jody Hunt from the Civil Division of the Department of Justice said. "These products are not safe and therefore we will continue to aggressively prosecute and prosecute those who import, manufacture and distribute dangerous and illegal ingredients for fraudulent purposes."
In many ways, this step is out of the question surprise. In December 201
The letter read: "If the distribution of your product and other products that you market that contain DMBA are not discontinued immediately, this can easily be done FDA enforced enforcement. "
I researched other Blackstone products and found that one contained SARM, drugs that have been used to treat osteoporosis, but healthy people have also been shown to lose lean muscle mass Increase strength. Earlier this year, the FDA sent a warning letter to another supplements company asking them to stop selling SARMs because it was an unauthorized drug that had clinical trials and was therefore illegally sold.
I turned to the owners of Blackstone Labs, Aaron Singerman and PJ Braun, and asked if I could fly to Florida and interview them. To my surprise, they agreed to the interview.
For three hours, I toured the Blackstone grounds with the two tall men (both former bodybuilders) and questioned them.
Question: How much money does Blackstone make?
A: "$ 20 million a year"
Q: Why are you selling SARMs?
A: "If you look at the actual literature, it's all positive," Singerman said. "I have used it many times, and I like to spend products that I actually use."
Q: What about possible side effects?
A: "I'm a Libertarian," Singerman told me. "I think it's the person's decision. As long as they are adults. "
That day, I also learned that Blackstone had been working with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, a nutritional supplement business of Jared Wheat. Wheat was known for selling banned supplements containing banned substances such as ephedra. In early 2006, government officials stormed his offices and confiscated 200 cases of $ 3 million inserts, and in 2008, Wheat pleaded guilty to selling adulterated supplements and cheating on mail and wire. He was sentenced to 50 months in prison, but he continued to operate Hi-Tech from his cell. Now he worked with Singerman and Braun.
Men's Journal published my story in March 2017 (which came out in early February), and a few weeks later government officials stormed Blackstone Labs and confiscated the computer and the product.
But Blackstone apparently continued to prosper and brought out new supplements. As of yesterday, when Brown and Singerman were indicted with six other men in a 14-indictment indictment, they claimed that "the defendants have sold hundreds of thousands of illegal products, including anabolic steroids, which fraudulently represent them, and pills were high-quality legal supplements. According to the indictment, the defendants had founded an illegal production company and directed the sales of illegal products through trusted distributors, knowing that the products were not safe or could not be legally sold to consumers.
The indictment also accused Braun and Singerman of three money laundering counts, for which they could receive ten years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 for each count.
"Consumers who use supplements expect these products to be safe. If they contain medicines that are not approved by the FDA, the health of the population is at risk, "said Catherine A. Hermsen, Deputy Director of the FDA Office for Criminal Investigation. "We will continue to prosecute and bring to justice those who endanger the health of consumers."