Arlington, Virginia - A Georgia resident and his company pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge relating to the distribution of anabolic steroids and steroid-like drugs in purported dietary supplements.
According to court documents, James Chadwick Brooks, 41, of Norcross, and his company, CCB Nutrition LLC, pleaded guilty to introducing an unapproved new drug into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consumers. The government alleged that from 2016 to 2019, Brooks marketed supplements containing anabolic steroids such as androsterone, trestolone, epiandrosterone and methylstenbolone to the bodybuilding and fitness community. Anabolic steroids are Schedule III substances under the Controlled Substances Act, and they may have dangerous effects on users, including increasing the risk of liver damage, coronary artery disease, strokes and heart attacks.
The government also alleged that the supplements distributed by Brooks included a product labeled as containing Arimistane, an aromatase inhibitor typically used with steroids to decrease estrogen production. The FDA has long warned that aromatase inhibitors have been linked to significant health risks such as a decreased rate of bone maturation and growth, decreased sperm production, infertility, aggressive behavior, adrenal insufficiency, kidney failure and liver dysfunction. In pleading guilty, Brooks admitted that he knowingly took steps to mislead and defraud the government and consumers, in part by using an unregistered contract manufacturer to import ingredients and produce the unlawful products.
“Marketing unapproved and potentially unsafe drugs as dietary supplements endangers consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue working with its law enforcement and agency partners to prosecute those who flout the law at the expense of public health.”
“When Brooks and his company marketed and sold steroids and other supplements within the fitness community, they undermined the FDA approval process and seriously risked the health and safety of consumers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar of the Western District of Virginia. “The United States Attorney’s Office, along with our partners at the FDA, have an obligation to ensure the products consumers ingest are safe and can be trusted. We will continue that mission and bring to justice anyone who attempts to undermine that trust.”
“Those who market unlawful dietary supplements that contain potentially harmful drugs, such as steroids, put the public health at risk,” said FDA Assistant Commissioner for Criminal Investigations Catherine A. Hermsen. “We will continue to investigate those who jeopardize consumers’ health and bring them to justice.”
Brooks and CCB Nutrition LLC pleaded guilty before Judge James P. Jones in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Brooks is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 18, and faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Ramseyer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Speare Hodges of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case.