SGF-1000 Salesman Kegley Gets 30 Months in Prison

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Sarah Andrew

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Michael Kegley, Jr., the former sales director for the company that sold the purportedly performance-enhancing drug (PED) SGF-1000 that is at the heart of a years-long investigation of an international racehorse doping conspiracy, got sentenced to 30 months in prison on Thursday.

Kegley, 41, had pleaded guilty in July 2021 to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding. He had admitted in open court at that time that as sales director for the Kentucky-based MediVet Equine, he sold SGF-1000 and other products to trainers and veterinarians, knowing that there was “no medical prescription for those products” and that the substances were “not manufactured in an FDA-approved facility [nor] approved for sale by the FDA.”

Kegley's Jan. 6 prison sentence was six months shy of the maximum allowable term under federal sentencing guidelines. Just 24 hours previous to his sentencing, the same judge in the same court had handed down a maximum sentence for similar charges to Kristian Rhein, the defendant who is both Kegley's business associate and brother-in-law.

On Jan. 5, Rhein, a suspended veterinarian formerly based at Belmont Park who married Kegley's sister, got sent to prison for three years by Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil in United States District Court (Southern District of New York).

Prosecutors had previously acknowledged in a sentencing recommendation that Kegley should get a somewhat lighter sentence than his brother-in-law because of Rhein's standing as a veterinarian.

“Unlike Kegley, Rhein was a licensed veterinarian who predominantly treated racehorses; as such, Rhein was a more sophisticated actor than Kegley, and well-acquainted with the various legal regimes governing the sale and distribution of an adulterated and misbranded drug,” the government stated in its sentencing recommendation. “Likewise, Rhein, unlike Kegley, personally administered SGF-1000 to racehorses, concealed bottles of that drug, instructed others to do the same, and falsely billed customers for SGF-1000 under a false billing code.”

As a condition of Kegley's plea-bargained sentence, he was required to forfeit $3,310,490, which is a sum equal to the amount of the illegal substances seized by the government. But a court order accompanying the sentence stated that Kegley will only have to pay $192,615 if he does so within two years of his release from prison. If Kegley does not pay that amount by that time, he will be liable for the full sum.

One admitted doper of Thoroughbreds, the former trainer Jorge Navarro, last month got sentenced to five years in prison for administering myriad alleged PEDs, including SGF-1000.

Another barred trainer under indictment for alleged doping, Jason Servis, is scheduled to face trial in early 2022. Prosecutors have produced numerous intercepted communications involving Servis discussing using SGF-1000 on “almost every” horse under his care, including the disqualified 2019 GI Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security (New Year's Day).

In one wiretapped call from July 16, 2019, Rhein and Kegley discussed how Servis and his associates were “buying literally as much” SGF-1000 as Rhein was able to source from MediVet.

It was further alleged that MediVet later in 2019 attempted to trick the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) into delisting SGF-1000 as a prohibited substance after Kegley's firm had already “reaped millions of dollars in revenue” by selling it illegally.

According to the government's evidence, MediVet and its associates emphasized “the potent effects of SGF-1000,” which were supposedly derived from “an innovative formulation consisting of Regenerative Proteins, Cytokines, Peptides, potent Growth Factors and Signaling Molecules derived from Ovine Placental Extract.”

Court documents filed by the feds had stated that SGF-1000 was explained to trainers as being similar to a vasodilator that would “increase stamina, performance, and overall health.” The materials even listed the growth factors that were purportedly found in SGF-1000, including some that were explicitly prohibited in many major racing jurisdictions.

The feds also alleged that despite what Kegley, Rhein, and other MediVet representatives claimed when they were parroting the company's marketing materials, no one pushing the product really had any accurate idea of what was in it.

“Notably, Kegley and his coconspirators did not know the precise contents of SGF-1000 until at least in or about August 2019–years after MediVet had started marketing and selling the drug,” court documents stated. “But [they] believed that no matter the component parts of the drug, it would enhance a horse's performance.”

 

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