News and Press Releases

Illinois Man Sentenced to Prison for Selling Peptides, HGH from China over the Internet

May 12, 2014

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Norridge, Ill., has been sentenced in federal court to 27 months imprisonment on his conviction of mail fraud, distribution of human growth hormone and money laundering, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose imposed the sentence on Ronald J. DeFranco, 54.

According to information presented to the court, DeFranco maintained a website for the illegal distribution of peptides - chemical compounds which require a prescription for dispensation, but which are illegitimately sought by body builders for muscle enhancement. DeFranco deceived the Internet service provider and the FDA by falsely representing on the website that he was selling these substances "for research purposes only . . . not for human consumption." In addition to sales of peptides, DeFranco also allegedly sold human growth hormone (HGH) without the required physician's prescriptions. During the period from May 2010, until January 2011, DeFranco allegedly paid $94,777.40 in Western Union and bank wire transfers to acquire these substances from suppliers in the Peoples Republic of China.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Ambrose stated that she was denying the defendant’s downward variance request due to the serious nature of the offense and because his prior sentence of imprisonment “speaks volumes about [his] ability to conform [his] behavior to the law.”

Assistant United States Attorney Leo M. Dillon prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, IRS - Criminal Investigation and the DEA for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of DeFranco.

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