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February 18, 2022
Down goes the other one. PJ Braun, founder of Blackstone Labs LLC has just been sentenced to 54 months in prison. Braun pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell illegal substances and illegal anabolic steroids marketed under the guise of dietary supplements.
Braun took to his Instagram to announce that Guy Cisternino will take his place while he is locked up. PJ Braun and Aaron Singerman both received the same 54-month sentences for their crimes. We covered Singerman’s prison sentencing last month.
After a short delay in the courts, PJ Braun was handed down his 4.5-year sentence from U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas of the Southern District of Florida. The charge against PJ Braun was conspiring to sell illegal anabolic steroids and other products marketed as dietary supplements that were unlawful under federal law.
In the video above, PJ Braun details his wrongdoings as selling their breakout product Super-DMZ and SARMs, but they thought this wasn’t illegal at the time.
He said," We believed we were okay selling them, but we weren’t. We should not have done it, and I accept responsibility for that, and I will accept my punishment for selling those products years ago.”
The court documents showed that Phillip Braun, AKA PJ Braun, founded and operated Blackstone Labs LLC, a Boca Raton-based supplement company that sold drug products that were disguised as supplements. Braun pleaded guilty to the charges back in November 2021. Besides the 4.5-year prison sentence, Braun also had to forfeit $3 million, and his company Blackstone Labs was ordered to forfeit $1.2 million.
In total, eight people and three companies were convicted in connection with the illegal activities of Blackstone Labs. Besides Singerman and Braun, Anthony Ventrella of Ventech Labs was convicted back in September 2021 of manufacturing many of the illegal products that Blackstone sold and also committed mail and wire fraud to prop up the scandal. Ventrella was sentenced to 13 months in prison and had to forfeit the equipment used in making the illegal products.
The next individual that will be sentenced on March 11th, 2022, in relation to the criminal activities of Blackstone Labs is James Boccuzzi. He was convicted in December 2021 on one count of conspiracy to defraud the FDA and to distribute controlled substances.
Phillip Braun, 41, of Boca Raton, Florida, was originally from Connecticut. Braun got into bodybuilding in his 20’s and ended up making up to the national level athlete. He then moved into coaching primarily female bodybuilders, where he found a lot of success. He then transitioned into creating the supplement company Blackstone Labs LLC with co-founder Aaron Singerman in 2012.
Within four years, Blackstone Labs was on the INC 500 fastest-growing companies list. In 2017 a few days after Men’s Journal published an article, “ How Two Florida Gym Rats Conquered the Shadowy World of Dietary Supplements,” that featured Blackstone Labs, the company was raided by the federal agents.
Braun and Singerman, split up with Singerman going on to start the supplement company Redcon1. The two didn't have an amicable split to say the least.
Guy Cisternino is a retired IFBB pro bodybuilder who made the jump from college football to bodybuilding after he found success at the first show he competed in. From 2003-2007 he competed in a few local shows.
His big break came in 2008, where he earned his IFBB Pro card by winning the 2008 Nationals. According to the video posted above, Guy has been friends with PJ Braun for 22 years, Blackstone Labs also sponsored him.
It will be interesting to see how Cisternino manages the company while Braun is behind bars.
This whole Blackstone Labs ordeal has highlighted some issues that the supplement industry faces. Jeopardizing the health of your consumers is never okay, and we can only hope that everyone involved with the Blackstone scheme learned their lesson and that the rest of the industry gets a wake-up call. The industry needs to be more transparent, only offering safe and effective products that are labeled properly.
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