Fri December 16, 2011
Toronto doctor spared jail time for treating athletes with human growth hormones
A Canadian sports doctor has been spared prison time.
52-year-old Anthony Galea of Toronto appeared in a Buffalo federal courtroom Friday afternoon for his sentencing.
Galea admitted to bringing unapproved and mislabeled drugs over the border into Buffalo. He promoted himself as a healing specialist, who helped athletes recover from injuries. His list of clients included Tiger Woods and players from the NFL and Major League baseball.
“This Office will vigorously enforce those laws designed to protect the health, safety and well being of our citizens,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul. “At the same time, we will continue to protect the integrity of our borders, and ensure that the nation’s various immigration and employment laws are evenly applied to all, without regard to economic, educational or supposed social standing.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara sentenced Galea to one year supervised release. Under his plea deal entered into last summer, Galea faced up to 18 months in jail.
After sentencing Galea's defense team insisted that the doctor was never involved with using any performance enhancement drugs.
"The media never focus on the issue of exactly why, what kind of treatments there were. despite being told many times that Dr. Galea was only involved in treating athletes injuries. Incessantly reporters, with the help of headline editors, tried to spin the case as one involving "doping" or "performance enhancement" with absolutely no basis whatsoever to treat this case in that fashion," said Mark Mahoney, Buffalo defense attorney.
Galea's Canadian Defense Attorney Brian Greenspan was pleased with the sentence.
"We are also pleased that finally, clearly and unequivocally, it has been stated for all of the meet you press and public to understand, that no time was Dr. Galea ever and call any performance is very short and that's clear should be made clear to everyone," said Greenspan.
“Today’s sentencing of defendant Dr. Anthony Galea demonstrates the commitment of the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations to target those who enter the U.S. with a deliberate disregard for the laws established to protect the American public from exposure to drugs for uses that have not been FDA approved,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dragonetti of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office. “FDA/OCI commends the US Attorney’s Office as well as our law enforcement counterparts in this joint effort."
The drugs Galea used to treat sports figures included human growth hormone and Actovegin, a derivative of calf’s blood.
Galea has already forfeited $275,000 as required by the plea agreement signed in this case
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Campana and Mary Clare Kane, who handled the case, stated that Galea traveled to the United States numerous times from 2007 through September 2009, in order to provide medical treatments to professional athletes, including players in the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB). Galea, who is not licensed to practice medicine in the United States, admitted traveling to 13 locations, including New York City, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Boston, to administer four different kinds of treatments. One type of treatment involved injecting athletes with a mixture containing HGH, while a second type of treatment involved injections of Actovegin.