Valencia man who helped steroid trafficker sentenced to probation
A Valencia man who helped a pharmacy owner research the criminal prosecutions of steroid and hormone trafficking will spend two years on probation, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
John Gavin, 51, pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy in November. A registered nurse, he worked for William Sadowski of McKees Rocks at ANEWrx, a Robinson pharmacy licensed in 45 states.
Sadowski, 47, pleaded guilty in November to participating in an interstate trafficking ring that included a former doctor for the Steelers, who is also facing charges.
Sadowski acknowledged paying commissions to Dr. Richard Rydze, 63, of the Strip District when Rydze’s patients filled prescriptions for anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and related products at ANEWrx.
U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill in February sentenced Sadowski to 2 1⁄2 years in prison.
Stephen Stallings, Gavin’s lawyer, said his client helped Sadowski because he thought he was helping people who believed the steroids and hormones would help with their medical problems.
“Mr. Gavin made a horrible mistake here,” Stallings said. “But it was not a mistake of greed. It was not a mistake of lust for power.”
Gavin apologized to the court and more than a dozen people who showed up to support his bid for leniency.
“I’m completely responsible for all of this,” he said.
Gavin told the judge he planned to be more cautious while still helping people. He declined comment after the hearing.
Stallings said his client’s next challenge is the state board that will decide whether he loses his nursing license.
Federal sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of 1 1⁄2 years to 2 years in prison for Gavin, based on his crime and his lack of a criminal history.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kall requested a lower-than-recommended sentence based on Gavin’s cooperation with the investigation, but to have him spend at least some time in prison.
As a registered nurse, Gavin “knew better than anyone that these drugs were being improperly administered,” he said.
Cohill agreed, but said that Gavin has demonstrated genuine remorse.
“I also think he has reached a point where this is unlikely to happen again,” the judge said.
Rydze faces 185 charges of health care fraud and trafficking in anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and painkillers.
The Steelers employed Rydze on the team’s medical staff for 22 years until 2007, when investigators questioned him about his use of a personal credit card to buy about $150,000 worth of human growth hormones and testosterone from a Florida pharmacy.
Rydze provided medical exams for the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office, so FBI agents and prosecutors from Cleveland are handling the investigation and prosecution of the ring.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or [email protected].