Former professional cyclist Joe Papp has been sentenced to three years probation, including six months of house arrest for distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs on behalf of a Chinese drug distributor via the internet. The news comes after Papp was handed an eight-year ban from USADA.
Papp could have faced up to ten years in federal prison for his actions but was spared jail time due to a number of factors, including his cooperation with the government and USADA in providing information in doping and criminal activity.
Papp testified in the 2007 Floyd Landis case and pleaded guilty in 2010 in a Pittsburgh federal court on two counts of conspiracy to distribute performance enhancing drugs. He could have received up to five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to sell human growth hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) on behalf of the Shandong Kexing Bioproducts company.
Purchases of the illegal performance-enhancing drugs were made by up to 187 international athletes from a variety of sports, including cycling, from September 2006 to September 2007. The transactions took place with Papp as an intermediary between his sportsmen clients and the Chinese sellers of the Eposino-brand of EPO and Jintropin HGH.
ESPN’s Bonnie Ford reported that U.S. District Chief Judge Gary L. Lancaster said Papp "has acted as a public advocate" in efforts to clamp down on performance-enhancing drug use, and cited his lack of previous criminal history, his graduate education, and various mental and physical health issues stemming from his past abuse of PEDs.”
Ford also spoke to Ford directly after sentencing and told the ESPN reporter, "I obviously regret all of it, and I wish I could take it all back," added Papp, who said the case has wrecked him financially. He said he is unemployed and last worked in software sales; he lives with his mother and is subsisting on loans from family.”