Two appear in court in case against former Steelers doctor

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Two men accused of conspiring to distribute performance enhancing drugs with prominent Downtown doctor Richard A. Rydze appeared in court this morning.

James Hatzimbes, 42, who ran the Pleasant Hills-based HSE Salon and Wellness Center, came before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly for an arraignment at which he pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. His attorney, Charles Porter, said he will investigate and defend against the charges.

Mr. Hatzimbes was released on $50,000 unsecured bond. He continues to work at his medical equipment business, Mr. Porter said.

William Zipf, 57, formerly of Pittsburgh but more recently housed in a federal prison in Morgantown, made his initial appearance before Judge Kelly. He also faces charges of healthcare fraud.

Judge Kelly told him he could face as much as 20 years in prison for the conspiracy count, and 10 years for the multiple fraud counts.

He will be arraigned on Tuesday.

Dr. Rydze, who served as one of the Steelers' physicians for two decades until a separation in 2007, is the central figure in the 185-count indictment handed down last month that naming the three men. He ran Optimal Health Center and has pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Hatzimbes is accused of hosting what federal prosecutors have called "steroid clinics" with which Dr. Rydze was involved.

Zipf, who is serving time for conspiring to sell cocaine, is accused in the indictment of conspiring with Dr. Rydze to improperly distribute prescription narcotics. The doctor would write prescriptions to Zipf's relatives without ever examining them, the indictment said, and . Zipf would then provide the drugs to others.

Two men pleaded guilty last week in related cases. William M. Sadowski, 46, of McKees Rocks, and John F. Gavin, 51, of Valencia, are set to be sentenced Feb. 26 for conspiring to improperly sell steroids and other drugs.

They admitted at their plea hearings to helping to facilitate, through their Robinson-based company ANEWrx, the sales of performance-enhancing drugs to patients of several physicians and clinics.

The cases are being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach because local law enforcement faces a conflict of interest. mobilehome - breaking - region

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord. First Published November 8, 2012 12:30 AM


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