Rejecting the defendant’s pleas for leniency, a federal judge in Mobile on Wednesday sentenced the owner of a Colorado anti-aging clinic to more than 7 years in prison for his role in a nationwide steroids conspiracy.
A jury in February convicted Brett W. Branch on steroids and money-laundering charges. Jurors found that he served as a middleman between hundreds of healthy customers and Applied Pharmacy Services, a compounding pharmacy in Mobile that made anabolic steroids.
In testimony, Branch’s ex-wife, Tracey Branch, said he injected steroids into his 13-year-old daughter to help her grow taller for volleyball and his 11-year-old son because he was “chubby.”
U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade accepted the recommendation of prosecutors and sentenced Branch to 7 years and 3 months in prison — the maximum under advisory guidelines.
“Your sentence still is not nearly as high as the owners of the pharmacy who I have sentenced,” she said.
Granade earlier gave 10-year terms to A. Samuel Kelley, president of Applied Pharmacy, and Jason R. Kelley, who ran its day-to-day operations.
Branch, 42, tearfully apologized for his conduct. He said he did not realize that he was breaking the law until his trial.
Branch said that he accepted responsibility for his actions and, to reinforce the point, said he would not appeal his conviction or sentence.
“If they hadn’t stopped what we were doing, hundreds if not thousands of people would be on this medication that didn’t even have a label,” he said.
According to trial testimony, Branch worked as a salesman for Applied Pharmacy and later started Infinite Health in Colorado. He marketed steroids — including veterinary drugs not approved for human use — at gyms and workout facilities. He also is alleged to have recruited 3 doctors to sign off on pre-written prescriptions.
Branch earned a 25-percent commission on each sale, according to testimony.
His customers, according to testimony, included Shane Carwin, a bodybuilder who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, former professional wrestler Ron Waterman and Rick Montero, who participates in rodeos.