A former police officer who was implicated in an Albany-based investigation of steroid trafficking has pleaded guilty in Florida to a 15-count federal indictment for similar crimes.
Anthony Forgione, 46, who has ties to Long Island and Florida, faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison for his guilty plea last Friday in U.S. District Court in Palm Beach County, Fla.
Forgione is being held at a jail in West Palm Beach awaiting sentencing. He previously worked as a police officer in New York City and Boca Raton, Fla.
Two years ago, Forgione pleaded guilty to three felony charges in Albany and was sentenced to probation. He admitted selling steroids and human growth hormone, through the mail, to customers in Albany County. The prescriptions, which were fraudulent, were filled by Orlando’s Signature Compounding Pharmacy, according to prosecutors.
Forgione is described in federal court papers as a former wellness clinic operator who broke into the illicit drug trade in South Florida five years ago selling steroids and other controlled substances to people at gyms. His business, Infinity Longevity, was among several Internet-based “clinics” targeted by law enforcement agencies.
The federal case centers on several crimes committed by Forgione after his arrest in late 2007 on the Albany charges. It is not linked to the Albany investigation, although that case is referenced in Forgione’s plea agreement.
In U.S. District Court last week, Forgione admitted federal crimes of distribution of human growth hormone, distribution of controlled substances and conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids.
Infinity Longevity was based in Boca Raton and later Delray Beach, Fla. The company, which marketed “hormone replacement therapy,” was for a time a two-employee operation that consisted of Forgione and a South Florida osteopath physician, Gary Brandwein, who also pleaded guilty to drug charges in Albany.
Federal prosecutors said Forgione paid Brandwein about $11,000 a month to write prescriptions and that Brandwein rarely gave physical examinations to the patients receiving the drugs. The steroids and human growth hormone also were being prescribed for uses not allowed under federal laws, including bodybuilding and anti-aging.
Forgione was arrested in November 2007 when Florida police and New York Health Department investigators raided his Boca Raton home-office and confiscated drugs, guns and prescription records.
Brandwein was at Forgione’s business when it was raided but not arrested.
Anthony Palladino, a former business manager for Signature Compounding Pharmacy, refused to answer questions about his relationship with Forgione during pre-trial depositions in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against Albany County District Attorney David Soares and other agencies involved in the earlier investigation.
The federal lawsuit is pending in Orlando and was filed by Palladino and four other operators of Signature pharmacy. Wiretap records from the Signature pharmacy investigation included a conversation in which Palladino allegedly steered a potential customer to Forgione’s “clinic” when the person called the pharmacy interested in obtaining steroids.
Signature’s dealings with Forgione are not referenced in his federal case, which relates to Forgione’s dealings with Treasure Coast Pharmacy in Martin County, Fla. Law enforcement sources said Treasure Coast Pharmacy obtained customers who had used Signature pharmacy before it was raided in February 2007.
Forgione was fired from his job as a Boca Raton police officer about six years ago amid allegations he used steroids and neglected his duties to lift weights, according to published reports and Florida State Department records. Before joining the Boca Raton force, Forgione worked for several years as an NYPD officer.
His sentencing is set for March 25 in West Palm Beach.