Steroid Scandal Roots: A $4,000 Business Dispute
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MIAMI (CBS4) – The scandal that could cost Alex Rodriguez and a dozen other Major League Baseball players millions of dollars only came to light because of a South Florida business dispute over a $4,000 investment.
Porter Fischer has never met Alex Rodriguez. But he did know Tony Bosch – the man behind the now defunct anti-aging, steroid peddling clinic in Coral Gables called Biogenesis of America.
“Tony’s a great talker,” Fischer told CBS4’s Jim DeFede.
In 2010, Fischer went to Bosch to lose weight.
“You are talking about a middle aged guy like me who’s packing on 228, 230 pounds – a body fat of 32 percent because of all the different stuff I’d been doing, not taking care of myself,” Fischer said. “Well I didn’t want to feel old anymore.”
A friend had suggested he see Bosch, who at the time was operating Boca Body, a tanning and fitness clinic in Miami. Bosch and Fischer hit it off.
“He was asking me where I was from, and I told him, `here,’” said, Fischer, who is 49. “And he asked me where I went to school. I went to Columbus. He went to Columbus. He was a grade ahead of me. So there started to be this connection.”
Bosch said he would help Fischer. “`Don’t worry I’ll take care of you, I’ll take care of you,’” Bosch said, according to Fischer. “So all of a sudden I was going to embark on this new thing, where I’ve got a buddy, a doctor now who is going to get me in shape.”
Bosch also promised him the “Columbus rate” where he would only charge him $300 for his month treatments.
“A week or two after you walk in there and take some of that stuff, you drop weight, you drop weight, you get bigger, you get stronger, you feel better,” Fischer recalled. “All of a sudden, wow, the guy must know what he’s talking about.”
Fischer was so impressed he offered to do the clinic’s marketing. But Bosch had a different idea. He asked Fischer to invest $4000. In return, Fischer said Bosch promised to repay him $4,800 in a month.
“So the next day I wrote him a check for $4,000,” Fischer said.
Fischer thought the clinic was a potential gold mine.
“If I’m paying 300 dollars and there is 100 people, just a hundred people, 25 people a week, walking in this door, which is nothing right, that’s $30,000 a month,” he said. “And I’m going God I could really blow this up because they didn’t have a sign, there is nothing on the web, there is nothing to Google, nobody even had business cards, nobody had flyers. And I’m going wow I could put flyers in all the different gyms. I could use what I do to really make this guy a lot of money and make us all very very rich.”
Bosch was supposed to pay Fischer $1,200 a week for four weeks. But the first week he only came up with $600; and then a week later another payment for $600.
That’s when Fischer grew suspicious. He started seeing and hearing things at the clinic that made him wary. And whenever he tried to talk to Bosch about the money he was owed – Bosch would put him off.
“`I don’t have it, talk to Ricky,’” Bosch said according to Fischer.
Ricky – or Ricardo Martinez – was the company’s CEO
“And I said, `I just did talk to Ricky, he said there is no money in the account.’ `Well I don’t know what to tell you’”
Fischer said he was annoyed because there were still patients coming regularly into the clinic. And Fischer could see from the books of the clinic that some of those patients were paying upwards of $3,500 a visit.
“And I’m like, `What about all these people that just walked through here today?’ `It’s complicated.’ And I’m like, `It’s not that complicated, I need my money, I want my money.’ `Well I don’t have it.’ You know, with a smug look on his face. `I don’t have it. What are you going to do?’ I’m like, `What am I going to do?’ `Yeah, I’m Doctor Tony Bosch what are you going to do?’”
Fischer said it was in that moment that he knew what he would do next.
“I’m like, alright, okay, I’m walking away going yeah I know what I’m going to do about it,” Fisher said. “Now I know exactly what I’m going to do about it.”
Fischer, who became the marketing director for Biogenesis, claims he was asked to store boxes of files away from the clinic. Fischer went through the boxes and recognized the names of some of the ball players
“Okay wow, maybe he wasn’t full of crap, maybe he is a high profile doctor who takes care of ball players,” Fischer said. “Because he used to brag about it. When ESPN would come on he would stand there and be like, `Yeah that’s my boy, that’s my boy.’”
He was also troubled to see the client files included sections for both high school and college kids. Fischer decided to leak the documents to Miami New Times – hoping the information would take down Bosch’s steroid den. New Times quickly discovered Bosch wasn’t even a doctor.
“I just thought, `Oh, okay, New Times, let’s go get Bosch. Let’s get him what he deserves, have him arrested. He shouldn’t even be doing this, you know, pretending to be a doctor.”
Just before the New Times story went to press in January, Bosch called and tried to get the story stopped – sending him $4,000. One press report suggested the money came from Rodriguez.
“That’s what I heard,” Fischer said. “I can’t verify that Alex paid for anything. All I know is Bosch didn’t have the money to repay me. Then all of a sudden, yeah, he really, really really wants to repay me. And I’m thinking to myself well the story is going to come out anyway, but great now I get my money back. I had written it off. But if I was going to get it back great, but I wasn’t going to stop the story.”
When the story came out – all anybody seemed to care about were the names of the ball players. Bosch was given a $5,000 fine by the state Department of Health. In recent days the U-S Attorney’s Office contacted Fischer to sit down and talk about Bosch. He said he is looking forward to it.