Baltimore, Maryland – Ronald J. Dalessandro, age 49, of Frederick, Maryland pleaded guilty today to two counts of selling drug paraphernalia and filing a false income tax return.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Antoinette V. Henry of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.
According to his plea agreement, Dalessandro owned and operated The Needle Beast, a company through which he marketed and sold hypodermic needles and syringes on the internet to individual consumers around the country, who sought to enhance their physiques by self-administering anabolic steroids by injection. Dalessandro advised his customers on the most popular sizes ordered by his previous customers for self-administering anabolic steroids by injection. Dalessandro advertised his company on other websites focused on bodybuilding, anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Dalessandro displayed on his websites numerous disclaimers stating that the products he sold were “for medical, industrial, or vetrinary [sic] use only.” He used these disclaimers to avoid regulatory and law enforcement scrutiny, knowing that his customers intended to use the syringes and needles to inject themselves with body-enhancing substances, including anabolic steroids.
From the sale of needles and syringes through The Needle Beast website, Dalessandro received annual revenues of at least $68,432.93, $105,313.84 and $133.257.78 in 2006, 2007, and 2008, respectively. However, Dalessandro filed false income tax returns for these years which reported substantially less income than he earned, in that he did not report all of the income earned from the illicit sales of syringes and needles.
Dalessandro faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison followed by a year of supervised release for each of the offenses and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III scheduled sentencing for January 31, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the IRS Criminal Investigation and FDA, Office of Criminal Investigations for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert K. Hur and Kelly O'Connell Hayes, who are prosecuting the case.