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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Five Charged In Steroid Distribution Ring


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Tara Tighe, Public Affairs Specialist

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging the owner of a Morgantown, West Virginia gym and four others with operating a steroid distribution network, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced today.

The indictment stems from an investigation by the United States Postal Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the Mon Valley Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration into Carl R. Benedict, 49, of Morgantown, West Virginia.

As the owner of Club 24 Fitness, Benedict allegedly manufactured, processed, packaged, and sold compounds of Human Growth Hormone and Anabolic Steroids through the internet using materials procured from China. Benedict allegedly worked in collaboration with his associates Richard J. Pinelli, Jr., 27, of Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, Joseph B. Greco, 27, of New Castle, Pennsylvania, Derek S. Starn, 33, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Anthony F. DiDomenico, III, 28, of Morgantown, West Virginia.

The five defendants are each charged with one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Human Growth Hormone,” for which they each face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00, one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Anabolic Steroids,” for which they each face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00, and one count of “Conspiracy to Launder Money Instruments,” for which they each face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00.

Greco is further charged with one count of “Smuggling,” for which he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00, and one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Human Growth Hormone,” for which he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

DiDomenico is further charged with one count of “Mailing of Controlled Substances,” for which he faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00, one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids,” for which he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00, one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Human Growth Hormone,” for which he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00, and one count of “Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises,” for which he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00.

Pinelli is further charged with one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids,” for which he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00, one count of “Possession with Intent to Distribute Human Growth Hormone,” for which he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00, and one count of “Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises,” for which he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.00.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated January 7, 2015