PED Formulator Faces Three Years in Prison

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Jorge Navarro Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

The doping conspiracy case that has been winding through the federal court system since March 2020 netted its seventh guilty plea Wednesday when a 63-year-old Massachusetts man with a doctoral degree in cancer-related toxicology admitted to a judge that he mixed formulas that sometimes included steroids and shipped them in unlabeled vials to a Florida veterinarian who allegedly sold them to racetrack clients.

By pleading guilty Oct.6 to one count of drug adulteration and the misbranding of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), Jordan Fishman now faces three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 when he gets sentenced Feb. 8.

Appearing via videoconference in United States District Court (Southern District of New York) to change his previous pleading of “not guilty” as part of a plea agreement, Jordan Fishman also directly implicated Seth Fishman, the Florida veterinarian who is a co-defendant in the case and has a trial scheduled for January.

Jordan Fishman said Wednesday that between 2017 and his arrest in March 2020, “Seth Fishman provided the materials and formula requests. And then I made the solutions consistent with those formulas.”

Jordan Fishman said the various substances he created contained vitamins, amino acids, nutraceuticals, and, at times, steroids.

Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil did not ask Jordan Fishman to elaborate on the steroid aspect of the PED creation process. But she did want to know if he was aware the substances were to be used on racehorses.

“At the time I did it, I was not aware that they were going to be used on Thoroughbred racehorses,” Jordan Fishman said. “I knew that Seth had a [veterinary] business that involved that. I knew that the FDA was fielding complaints about Seth Fishman, and I should have looked into that further.”

The judge also wanted to know specifically why the vials were not labelled with their contents.

“Seth had requested that he be allowed to label them,” Jordan Fishman said. “And I should have known the he was doing something illegal. Obviously, it was to conceal it from whoever Seth [would] sell them to … I knew that I was not licensed to be able to move this material to Seth in interstate commerce.”

Jordan Fishman said that sometimes these PEDs got shipped outside of the country, although he was not pressed by the judge to provide specifics on those destinations.

“When I sent these items in interstate commerce, I knew that that was illegal. And I should have known it was something I shouldn't have done,” Jordan Fishman said.

The judge wanted to know if the two Fishmans are related. Jordan said they are not, but that they have known each other professionally since 2008.

Although it was not discussed during Wednesday's criminal proceedings, the two Fishmans have previously squared off in court.

TDN has obtained a copy of a federal lawsuit filed in May 2020 by Seth Fishman against Jordan Fishman and his Massachusetts-based company, 21st Century Biochemicals, Inc.

That suit–which was filed about a month after the two pled not guilty in the doping conspiracy case–alleged that Seth Fishman made $1 million in loans to Jordan Fishman's company over a period of years, and that in addition to allegedly not getting paid back, “Jordan, acting as the [president and majority shareholder of the firm], has also engaged in a scheme to defraud Plaintiff of his money.”

That case never went to trial. Both parties agreed to have it dismissed after reaching a settlement that involved the company paying $275,000 to Seth Fishman.

The alleged international “corrupt scheme” to manufacture, mislabel, rebrand, distribute, and administer PEDs to racehorses all across America and in international races began with a blitz of coordinated Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests nationwide on Mar. 9, 2020. All of the defendants initially pled not guilty, but plea changes have rolled in over the past year as the cases get closer to trials.

The veterinarian Scott Robinson was the first to be sentenced in March 2021. He got 18 months in prison and had to forfeit $3.8 million in profits.

In June, Sarah Izhaki was sentenced to time already served plus three years of supervised release for selling misbranded versions of Epogen.

Scott Mangini, a pharmacist who admitted to creating custom equine PEDs, got sentenced Sept. 10 to 18 months in prison, plus an $8.1-million forfeiture.

Michael Kegley Jr., a contractor for the Kentucky-based MediVet Equine, pled guilt to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding. He is to be sentenced Nov. 22.

Kristian Rhein, a suspended veterinarian formerly based at Belmont Park, has pled guilty to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding for use in the covert doping of Thoroughbred racehorses. As part of a plea bargain, he has agreed forfeit $1.02 million in profits plus pay $729,716 in restitution. He is to be sentenced Dec. 2.

The barred trainer Jorge Navarro has pled guilty to one count of conspiring to administer non-FDA-approved, misbranded and adulterated drugs, including PEDs that Navarro believed would be untestable and undetectable. Navarro faces a maximum prison term of five years when he gets sentenced Dec. 17. Navarro's plea deal also stipulates that he must pay $25.8 million to a list of victims that has not yet been made public.

A number of others still have their cases pending. Among them are the barred trainer Jason Servis, whom the feds allegedly recorded in wiretapped phone conversations discussing the doping of Maximum Security, the former $16,000 maiden claimer who crossed the wire first in the 2019 GI Kentucky Derby but was disqualified for interference

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