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Friday, September 22, 2017

More Pasternak defendants are sentenced
All five members of a Newport family, caught up in a steroid manufacture and distribution conspiracy, now have been sentenced in US District Court in Greeneville. The steroids were manufactured in home labs utilizing raw materials obtained from China. And then the 26 varieties were marketed on the Internet. Asst. US Attorney Helen Smith told Judge Ronnie Greer that an examination of financial records and other findings suggested the sales of steroids over the three year period totaled $2.8 million. A total of 22 persons were charged federally in the conspiracy. Ed Pasternak, 59, a former pastor of the now defunct Life and Praise Worship Center in the Newport Western Plaza, was sentenced Thursday to a 36 month prison term followed by three years of supervised release, by Judge Ronnie Greer. He had pleaded guilty to the manufacture and distribution of anabolic steroids and money laundering. Pasternak's wife, Lori, 52, was given a one year and one day prison sentence and ordered to perform 150 hours of community service. The Pasternak couple also was ordered to pay a $100,000 assessment. Mrs. Pasternak will surrender in 10 days to serve her sentence and her husband will self-report when told to do so by the US Marshal Service. During the sentencing, the court expressed concern regarding testimony indicating that Ed Pasternak had asked a co-defendant in the case, John Allen, to "leave me and my wife out of this", after Allen had been arrested. But Judge Greer found that the request had no effect on the prosecution of Mr. Pasternak. Smith also said Pasternak gave untrue statements to agents during the investigation. Following prodding by the court, Ed Pasternak, admitted his involvement in the conspiracy was more extensive than he had earlier admitted. "I want to apologize to you and the community. I'm sorry but I won't be able to talk to everyone and tell them I am sorry," he told the court. And he added that he doesn't drink "because it is wrong". Judge Greer then pointed to the many character letters he had received from the community including members of Pasternak's former church who talked about the defendant's "high standards and the relationship with those in his church". "I backslid as a Christian; it's that plain and simple. And after I was arrested I started drinking," the defendant explained. "People look up to pastors, but saying you backslid is not an explanation as to how you abdicated your role as a father and your church," responded the court. But Pasternak said he initially didn't think his involvement in the operation was very serious and that he'd "just get a slap on the wrist." The former pastor said he took a class with the Church of God to become a licensed minister and therefore be able to conduct marriages. The leader of the conspiracy, a son, Joel Pasternak, 28, was earlier sentenced to a 108 month prison term and ordered to pay the US Government $2.8 million. Two other sons, Jared Pasternak, 23 and Joshua Pasternak, 32, each were placed on five years probation and ordered to forfeit $10,000, the amount that each obtained from the sale of steroids. Several properties also are to be forfeited to the US Marshal Service.

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