New York prosecutors are again going after the operators of an Orlando pharmacy accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes.
A 33-count indictment against the operators of Signature Compounding Pharmacy was unsealed Tuesday in Albany County Court as the five business associates were arraigned.
The indictment — alleging enterprise corruption, drug sales and attempted drug sales — marks the return of a case brought by Albany County District Attorney David Soares in 2007 that garnered national attention.
At that time, Signature was painted as the hub of a steroid network.
Signature’s attorneys long have fought the allegations and denied the company was a distribution channel for pro athletes.
“These new charges are virtually identical to those that Judge Herrick dismissed in 2008. As the Loomises said yesterday at their arraignment, they are still not guilty,” their Orlando attorney Amy Tingley said Wednesday.
In 2008, a judge tossed the New York tossed the case and barred prosecutors from seeking further charges. But earlier this year, the Appellate Division ruled that Soares’ office could once again present the case to a grand jury.
On June 16, a grand jury indicted former pharmacy operators Naomi Loomis, 37, her husband, Robert “Stan” Loomis, 59; both of Windermere; his brother and former Signature pharmacy operator Kenneth Michael Loomis, who is in his early 60s, of Winter Garden; former business manager Kirk Calvert, 40, of Windermere; and former business manager Tony Palladino, 34, of Ocoee.
Each defendant was charged in every count. All pleaded not guilty.
Naomi Loomis was released on $35,000 bail, the rest on $30,000.
“We expect this indictment to suffer the same fate as the previous indictment,” said attorney E. Stewart Jones, who represents Kenneth Loomis, Calvert and Palladino. “It will be dismissed.”
When asked, Jones said the Loomises were “unable to work because everything is tied up as a result of forfeiture actions, civil lawsuits a pending criminal case. So their pharmacy business has basically been shut down.”
The Loomises are licensed pharmacists.
The arraignment comes less than two weeks after an Orlando federal judge slammed the local criminal case against the pharmacy, which essentially halts prosecutors’ efforts for the time being.
During a May hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Ho said one aspect of the local federal inquiry is to determine to what extent Signature’s business was focused on steroids and human-growth hormone.
Prosecutors wanted to review evidence seized as part of the 2007 New York case. Signature’s attorneys argued the property, seized from the pharmacy’s offices in Orlando and Winter Park, should be returned to the company.
In response, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell issued a harsh ruling June 10 stating prosecutors overstepped their bounds in seizing the company’s property in 2007. He ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to return Signature’s items.
The New York indictment also comes just weeks before a civil trial is slated to begin in Orlando federal court, in which Signature Pharmacy and its executives are suing Soares, the lead prosecutor and investigators on the original case.
The suit claims prosecutors misinformed the public, ruined the pharmacy’s reputation and cost it business.
The civil trial is slated to begin July 19.
“We do not believe it is a coincidence that as they seek to recover damages from the Albany prosecutors for destroying their business reputation three years ago, new charges that are no different than those that were already dismissed have surfaced,” Tingley said.