To defense attorneys, A. Samuel Kelley II was as a self-made entrepreneur who had started a number of businesses but who made mistakes navigating the complex regulations governing the pharmaceutical industry.
To prosecutors, he was a “kingpin” who sat atop a nationwide conspiracy, involving doctors and health clinics in several states, that was responsible for the sale of 2,465,701 dosage units of anabolic steroids from March 2003 until a federal raid on his business in August 2006.
Both sides agreed that Kelley, as president, chief executive officer and principal owner of Applied Pharmacy Services, reaped the largest share of the millions of dollars that flowed into the Mobile-based compounding pharmacy.
For U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade, that was enough to justify a 10-year sentence — by far, the longest handed down to any of the defendants so far. Earlier this month, she sentenced the chief pharmacist at Applied Pharmacy to four years in prison.
“The scope of the distribution of steroids outside the course of professional practice is just mind-boggling in this case,” Granade said Thursday.
Federal marshals handcuffed Kelley and hauled him off to prison immediately after the hearing as friends and relatives sobbed.
In addition to the prison sentence, the judge also fined Kelley $35,000 and ordered him to pay a $100 fee for each of the 130 counts that the jury found him guilty on in February, for a total of $13,000. Defense attorney Richard Jaffe said his client would appeal but otherwise declined to comment.
Since the trial, Kelley and his wife have lived in Lucedale, Miss., and have worked at a medical supply company that the defendant started in Mobile in 2007, according to court records.
Financial records maintained by Applied Pharmacy indicated that the company grossed $2.64 million from the steroids sales during period reviewed by federal investigators. Granade ordered Kelley — along with the other defendants — to pay that amount to the government.
Authorities have indicated the intend to go after a real estate leasing company that Kelley owns and the family’s home on Westchester Lane South in west Mobile to help satisfy the forfeiture order.
The business made Kelley a wealthy man, according to documents submitted this week by Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Dobbins showing that he earned $353,840 in salary from March 2003 until August 2006 and another $1.2 million in dividends.
Court records indicate that the steroids produced at Applied Pharmacy’s laboratory on International Drive near Bel Air Mall ended up in the hands of thousands of customers from all over the country.
Dobbins cited, but did not name, 24 who were professional athletes.
They represented sports ranging from baseball to bodybuilding to professional wrestling to mixed martial arts. “Sam Kelley ran the business,” Dobbins said. “He was responsible for every vial, every pill, every capsule that left there.”
Kelley said he made mistakes but never intended to break the law. “I started Applied Pharmacy with the best of intentions,” he said.