Former Florida clinic owner faces sentencing in baseball doping case

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2015 9:35 AM

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - The owner of a Florida business at the heart of a steroid scandal that led to the suspension of Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez faces up to about four years in prison when he is sentenced on Tuesday for supplying performance-enhancing drugs.

Anthony Bosch, 51, pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to distribute testosterone. The felony charge carries a 10-year maximum sentence, but prosecutors are seeking a shorter sentence of up to roughly 4 years in prison.

The owner of the now-defunct anti-aging BioGenesis clinic is asking for a judge to cut prosecutors' recommendation by six months, noting in court filings that he cooperated with federal and Major League Baseball investigators.

Bosch became a key witness for MLB, which has been paying his legal and security bills after suspending more than dozen players based on information he provided.

His lawyers have argued for a punishment similar to Victor Conte, whose BALCO clinic in San Francisco provided steroids to slugger Barry Bonds. Conte served four months in prison after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering in 2005.

“There’s a number of cases where the offense was at least as severe and many of those defendants received only a year or two years, some probation,” Bosch's attorney, Guy Lewis, said in an interview ahead of the sentencing at the Southern District of Florida in Miami.

Professional athletes paid Bosch as much as $12,000 per month for testosterone-filled syringes and creams, federal officials have said. He was also accused of selling performance-enhancing drugs to high school athletes, charging between $250 and $600 per month, according to an indictment.

Bosch's cooperation with MLB investigators led to the suspensions of Rodriguez; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who was the National League’s most valuable player in 2011; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz; Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres and Jhonny Peralta of the St. Louis Cardinals.

None of the players have faced criminal charges.

Bosch also served as a witness for the federal government in prosecuting a handful of former associates from his former clinic.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Susan Heavey)