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Fischer says he was often unjustly punished.
"If you want to know the source of my attitude of 'Don't fuck with me or else,' that's exactly where it comes from," Fischer says. "Now that I'm big and strong enough, I don't like to be pushed around."
His parents filed for divorce soon after his senior year at Christopher Columbus High School. Days after graduating, Fischer packed his bags and moved to Tallahassee, where he enrolled at Florida State University. He barely spoke to his family for the next seven years while working as a manager at Ruby Tuesday and paying his own way to an art degree. "I was always a decent artist," he recalls, "but I realized I was kind of a Coconut Grove Arts Festival-level talent."
So Fischer continued working at Ruby Tuesday after graduation and then traveled briefly to San Diego before returning east to manage Orlando's science-themed attraction, WonderWorks. Soon he quit that job and began freelance marketing. "I was always on planes, going to trainings and meetings," he says. "You're not exercising; you're coming home at 3 a.m., drinking beer, eating out. I got up to 228 pounds."
He started worrying about his health. One day in early 2010, he stopped by a Boca Tanning Club location at Sunset Drive and Red Road in South Miami. Fischer had made friends with the staff.
"I wanted to be the manager there," he recalls. "I was thinking, How do I get the edge back? How do I get my looks back, my income back?"
That's when a new section opened in the salon: Boca Body. "They told me they were doing HCG," Fischer says. "I asked, 'What's that?' and they said, 'Oh, it helps you lose weight.' " (HCG, in fact, is a hormone, which the FDA has prohibited from over-the-counter sales.)
An employee took Fischer's body fat measurements and told him to come back in a few days. When he returned, the staff ushered him in to see a man they called "the doctor." "That's when I first met Tony Bosch," Fischer says.
Fischer didn't know it, but Bosch wasn't a licensed doctor. He had earned a degree at the Belize-based Central America Health Sciences University, which isn't recognized in the United States. And he had led a troubled business career marred by a bitter dispute with his former partner in a medical supply business.
Along with his father, Dr. Pedro Bosch, Tony Bosch had reportedly been investigated in 2009 during a probe of then-Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez, who was eventually suspended for failing a drug test. Neither father nor son was ever charged, and both proclaimed their innocence.
When Fischer met Tony Bosch, he "was wearing a lab coat," Fischer recalls. "He says, 'OK, I think we can make this work. Where do you want to be?' "
Fischer thought for a minute and answered truthfully. "Well, in a perfect world, I'd like a Stallone body."
Bosch grinned, Fischer remembers, and said, "We can get you there."
As the two men talked, they realized a connection: Both had attended Columbus High School, and Bosch had been in grade school with Fischer's sister, Suzanne.
Soon the HCG started working, and Fischer's excess weight began sliding off. During the next visit, Bosch gave him another shot and suggested weightlifting. "I worked out like a fucking animal," Fischer recalls. He claims he never bothered to ask about the injections' ingredients.
In 2010, Bosch opened a new clinic called Biokem, tucked into a building just across South Dixie Highway from the University of Miami campus. He agreed to keep Fischer on the drug regimen for about $300 per month.
Then, on March 2, 2011, Fischer was biking on SW 128th Street when a 2011 Jaguar turned and slammed into him. After knee surgery, Fischer says, he received $35,000 in insurance money. (A police report confirms the driver was cited for careless driving.)
Fischer had begun hanging around the clinic — which changed its name to Biogenesis in March 2012 — after receiving his latest prescriptions, which by then included testosterone creams and anabolic steroids Winstrol and MIC. (Fischer shared his own patient records, which showed the prescriptions.)
"I was starting to get seriously jacked up," Fischer says. Soon he proposed the idea of marketing Biogenesis. After all, the place didn't even have a sign out front. About a year after the accident, he pitched the idea hard: "I said, 'Look, I'll even pay for some of the advertising myself. I've come into some money,' " Fischer remembers, referring to his accident payout.
That night, Bosch called with a proposal: Invest $4,000 and be repaid plus 20 percent interest via weekly installments. He'd also make Fischer a partner and marketing director.
Fischer agreed. This past October, he began working at Biogenesis every day, organizing records and assembling a marketing plan. "I was doing everything for free," he says.
Then, after almost two years on the drug regimen, Fischer finally began seriously researching what he'd been taking. He wasn't too worried. After all, Bosch was a doctor, right?
One day a co-worker approached Fischer. He claimed Bosch's main drug source wasn't a licensed doctor but rather "just a goddamn glorified steroid dealer."