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Anthony Bosch was born in September 1963 and grew up in a spacious, red-brick home nestled at the end of a quiet, leafy block in Coral Gables.
His father, a Cuban native named Pedro Publio, had earned a degree at the University of Havana in 1961 before studying medicine at Madrid's Universidad Complutense, according to state records. After completing his studies, rather than return to his homeland, he and his wife, Stella, moved to Dade County in 1969, when he won a residency at the University of Miami.
After an internship at Coral Gables Hospital and a residency at North Shore Hospital that lasted until 1976, Bosch — a stocky man with a friendly, open face and round glasses — opened a practice called Coral Way Medical Center in an office just south of their home. Stella worked as the firm's director and secretary, and in 1971, Anthony's younger brother, Ashley, was born.
Bosch was a good physician by all accounts; neither he nor his clinic was ever sued for malpractice. His real-estate timing was fortuitous as well. In 1982, he sold the office space to an investor for twice the amount he'd paid five years earlier. He eventually opened a new clinic under his own name on Douglas Road at SW 26th Street, where he still practices today.
Anthony, whose friends have always called him Tony, attended nearby Columbus High School. He inherited from his father a charming, guileless smile, even-featured good looks, and an interest in medicine.
But his first efforts to find a niche in the medical field hinted at the problems that would later drive him into the HGH business. He began with two friends, Roger De Armas and Federico Dumenigo (whose father was also a successful local physician), when they opened a series of medical supply companies. The trio started with Cardio-Respiratory Lab in 1987 and then opened Medical Patient Care in 1989. None of the operations lasted more than a couple of years, but Tony's energy and charisma were enough to attract investors.
"They were small operations, just two or three people in an office off Bird Road," says Richard Del Forn, who worked for Bosch at Cardio-Respiratory Lab. "But everyone seemed to get along fine with Tony."
Amid these early business attempts, Tony started his own family, marrying a woman named Tiki Rodriguez in 1984. The couple had their first child, a girl, and bought a small house in Coral Gables.
In 1990, he and his cohorts met Tonie Lanza, their biggest investor yet. She had sold her own successful medical supply firm a few years earlier. Lanza was charmed, and after hearing the young men's pitch, she agreed to take out a mortgage on her house to invest in Miami Med Management Consultants, their latest venture.
"They were very aggressive young kids, and from the outside, it looked like they were working really hard to be successful," Lanza says. "I saw an opportunity to get back into the business."
The firm would set a blueprint for Bosch, though: big promises and buckets of charm quickly followed by financial ruin and a disappearing act.
For a few months, Lanza thought she'd made a good bet. The plan was sound — the firm bought high-end medical equipment straight from manufacturers and rented it to doctors' clinics. But Lanza soon noticed something was amiss.
"I quickly realized they were not good businesspeople. They were too young, and their interest was not focused on running a successful business," she says.
Within two years, Miami Med Management Consultants had closed shop and the bank had sued the company's owners. In 1992, a Dade Circuit Court judge ordered the business partners to repay $65,000 to Terrabank, which held Lanza's mortgage.
"I never got a dime back," says Lanza, who repaid the bank herself. "It was a bad, bad experience. I don't think they were too remorseful about it."
Then, in 1992, soon after the couple's second child was born, Tiki filed for divorce. That same year, their Coral Gables home went into foreclosure with more than $184,000 unpaid on the mortgage.
Bosch eventually sold the house to repay the bank, but his wife had the same experience as Lanza in trying to get her ex-husband to pay his debts.
Two and half years after the divorce, Tiki sued for $17,250 in unpaid child support. A judge ordered $496 withheld weekly from Bosch, who was then working as a technician for DMG Health Care, a company owned by his brother, Ashley. Two years after that, his deadbeat bill topped $20,000.
But that marriage ended the same as his first. Aliette filed for divorce from Bosch in 2007 and within months had filed the first of many lawsuits for unpaid child support. By 2009, those debts had ballooned to more than $32,000.
As the bills piled up and legal notices flooded his mailbox, the would-be entrepreneur formulated a plan that could solve all of his financial problems and finally put him on equal terms with his dad in the medical world.
It began with a trip to Belize and ended with a foothold in America's hottest new industry.