A federal criminal probe is under way into whether the owner of a South Florida anti-aging clinic illegally sold controlled substances to high schoolers in addition to major league ballplayers and other professional athletes, the Miami Herald has learned.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami is scrambling to interview Porter Fischer, the whistleblower who holds 800 pages of the clinic’s records — some of which list clients’ names in code or aliases.
The move followed a story in the Miami Herald in which Fischer, Biogenesis’ former marketing director, challenged prosecutors to show some interest in the investigation.
In an interview with the Herald, he stressed that it wasn’t just professional ballplayers receiving steroids from Biogenesis and its founder, Anthony Bosch, but high school athletes as well.
Until now, only Major League Baseball had shown interest in the now-shuttered clinic’s records, offering Fischer as much as $125,000 for the files. Fischer declined, but Bosch was willing to make a trade — essentially selling MLB the names of cheating professional ballplayers in exchange for baseball’s help in shielding him against costly litigation.
It put Bud Selig, baseball’s commissioner, in the awkward position of allying himself with an alleged drug dealer.
Now the federal government is upping the ante by taking an intense look at Bosch’s dealings. While MLB is after the players who doped, the feds would be interested in criminally pursuing Bosch as well as those who provided the drugs for his business.
According to an email obtained by the newspaper, the push was prompted by a Herald story published last week — and a January exposé in Miami New Times — in which Fischer said Bosch was injecting minors with steroid “concoctions.’’
The Coral Gables-based clinic — Biogenesis, and its precursor, Biochem — allegedly supplied steroids and other banned substances to at least 20 ballplayers, including New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, who is now fighting for his career. MLB plans to try to ban him from the sport for life, possibly by week’s end, sources said Wednesday.
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney declined comment, but sources said Rodriguez was weighing whether to fight or to cut a deal to avoid banishment.
Meanwhile, Michelle Alvarez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, would neither confirm nor deny the existence of an inquiry.
The criminal probe is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Sullivan and Sharad Motiania, according to the email, which was obtained from a source close to the investigation. The source called it “an investigation into federal illegal substance violations,’’ and said that Motiania hoped to meet with Fischer as soon as Thursday.
The email also indicated that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was coordinating with other federal agencies, presumably the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This year’s doping scandal caused a furor largely because of the high-profile major leaguers, but scant attention was paid to the drugs that were allegedly being supplied to high schoolers.
Last week, Fischer publicly chided law enforcement for failing to pursue the case after the state Department of Health investigated and fined Bosch just $5,000 for practicing medicine without a license.