A federal grand jury has indicted a physician, a chiropractor and a computer businessman affiliated with the Northeast Louisiana Anti-Aging and Wellness Center on charges of a conspiracy to smuggle and sell human growth hormone for illegal purposes.
Dr. Linda Bunch, chiropractor Dallas Humble and Paul Temple, owner of Temple Systems Inc., face 22 counts of violating federal law, which total thousands of dollars in fines, a maximum of 30 years in prison or both. The indictment also signals the U.S. government’s intent to seize more than $400,000 from the three defendants, the center’s property and at least one medical license.
The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act prohibits the knowing distribution of, or possession with intent to distribute, HGH for any use in humans other than the treatment of a disease or other recognized medical condition. Those medical conditions can include growth hormone deficiencies that can affect a child’s kidneys or the severe weight loss associated with HIV.
The hormone also has been known to arrest the effects of aging, and the government alleges the co-defendants conspired to obtain HGH to use as an anti-aging treatment.
The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court Clerk’s Office in Shreveport June 24.
According to the indictment, Temple e-mailed a Chinese supplier of HGH to ask about prices as early as July 23, 2003, and the other defendants would pay Temple to submit periodic orders for themselves and others. From 2003 until 2006, the indictment claims, each of the defendants spent thousands of dollars to have vials of HGH shipped from China and U.S.-based manufacturers, constituting a conspiracy and the first count of the indictment.
Counts two through 20 address the distribution of HGH, and the government claims on 19 separate occasions the center distributed the hormone to clients from July 2005 until June 2008. Counts 21 and 22 allege the three imported the hormone, knowing it was illegal to do so without approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Citing forfeiture laws, the government is seeking $406,648.75, a sum that equals the proceeds from the illegal hormone distribution. It also intends to seize the center’s property at 3602 Cypress St. in West Monroe and Bunch’s license to practice medicine.
Attorney Will Barham is representing Bunch in the federal criminal suit. “We’re confident that when all the facts come out, the defendants will be exonerated,” Barham said. Bob Noel, the attorney for Dallas Humble, offered a similar comment on the allegations. “They’re false,” Noel said. “We intend to defend the clients at trial and feel very confident the jury will find them not guilty.”