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‘My lawyers told me I had nothing to worry about. They said you’re not a target. Then when I got indicted in 2019, it came as a total surprise.’ -Aaron Singerman


We all knew that Aaron Singerman had been dealing with a legal case since the company he co-founded, Blackstone Labs, had been raided by the FDA in 2017 for selling prohormones. Though he was forced to forfeit nearly $3 million and was looking at a possible 13-year-prison sentence, I never thought this hardworking businessman and devoted father of three would have to serve actual jail time for something literally a thousand other companies had been doing. I was wrong. Aaron was sentenced to 54 months in Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Florida and began serving his time in January of 2022. Equally shocking was his release in December of the same year, in time for the holidays and to attend the Olympia Weekend in Las Vegas. Here, in an exclusive interview, Aaron talks about the entire experience, which will also be detailed as part of his book Redcon Rising, the bulk of which was written in prison.


Your legal case had a long gestation period of years. As time went by, I assumed you would probably get hit with a hefty fine, but I never thought you would do jail time. It’s not like you’re a violent criminal who needs to be locked up to protect society. At what point did you start to realize that there was a high likelihood you would go to prison?


Blackstone Labs was raided in March of 2017. At the time, my lawyers told me I had nothing to worry about. They said you’re not a target. Then when I got indicted in 2019, it came as a total surprise. I hadn’t talked with my criminal lawyers in over a year, and I thought it was over. I got new lawyers after the indictment and spent many millions of dollars on legal teams. I had everyone from the great Alan Dershowitz and several other high-profile lawyers working for me. They all said things like I hadn’t done anything and I was going to win, or I was going to be OK. One even told me that even if I went to trial and lost, no one had ever been sent to prison for anything like this before. My wife Darielle and I were convinced. It wasn’t until I started crashing boats and cars toward the end of 2021 that I realized I was going to prison. I had changed my plea from not guilty to guilty. Talking with my lawyer who had spoken to the prosecutor, I found out they wanted to get 96 months. That was their goal for me. That’s when I fell apart and when I couldn’t pretend I was going to be OK. From 2017 to 2019 I was pretty paranoid. It got worse after that, which was why I started drinking. I’m not even a drinker. I’m not a saint and I’ve had drug issues in the past, but I am a stable person who never wants to be out of control. That stability declined as I got more worried, anxious and stressed. I realized I was going to be leaving my three little boys, who are the most important thing in the world to me. I try my best to teach them what it means to be a good man and a good person, always tell the truth and treat others how you want to be treated. Then here I am going to prison? It didn’t gel.

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I think we were all shocked when you crashed your boat. That’s when I knew the pressure and stress had gotten to you.


I’d like to clear one thing up about that. There were no children on that boat, despite some false reports otherwise. This happened at 3 in the morning. I was not putting my babies on a boat at 3:00 a.m. It really upset me that people thought I was drinking and driving a boat with my kids on it. That’s a bad person. Anyway, my house is on an inlet called Lake Boca. I brought two of my friends. One is a former Navy SEAL who now works for the CIA. It was probably a bad idea to take the boat out at midnight, because we were drinking. But we wouldn’t be going far so I figured it would be OK. My buddy wanted me to drop him off at his house in Deerfield, which would take two hours going slowly on the Intracoastal Waterway. By the time we dropped him off and were halfway back, it was 3:00 a.m. and we’d both had way too much to drink. Not being a very experienced boater, I never thought about the tides. There had been no problem going under the bridges heading to drop my friend off, but when I went under the Camino Real Bridge on my way back home, the tide had risen. It took off the top section of my boat with the radar and all that stuff, and my head slammed into the center console and started bleeding profusely. My SEAL buddy didn’t think to take my boat out of drive and put it in neutral because he was dealing with my head injury. The boat ended up veering off toward a dock with several other boats. The bridge operator saw all of this, called the police, and that’s the end of that story.


Clearly, the impending prison sentence was a source of tremendous stress.


People didn’t realize the pressure I was under because I was acting pretty normal, but inside I was a mess. I would wake up every morning with this pressure on my chest from extreme anxiety. The reason I started drinking wasn’t to party or relax. Drinking a little glass of vodka would relieve some of that pressure and anxiety. An hour or two later it would come back, and I’d drink another little glass. I should have handled it another way or talked to somebody. But I didn’t, and it caused a lot of problems. It was the uncertainty that really got me. My judge could have given me anything from probation to 96 months (eight years).


But just in case, I would think you wanted to make sure both your family and business would be OK if you did go away for years. What steps did you take to ensure that before your sentencing?


In business we have something called succession planning, and with my family I had to make sure my wife had power of attorney and access to the funds they needed. Unfortunately, I crashed a car before I had the chance to do that. I left home a few weeks earlier than I had planned and a lot of things didn’t get done. I wasn’t drinking when I crashed the car. I had taken an Ambien and don’t even recall the accident. It was the first time I’d taken Ambien, and instead of taking one as the bottle said to, I took two. I was in a hotel, and the last thing I remember was going downstairs to get some food. At that point, the judge felt I was possibly a risk, and I was put into custody immediately instead of at the sentencing three weeks later. I don’t blame him. I would do the same thing. The crazy thing is that I felt a little better when I was in county jail, and a lot better once I was sentenced. The pressure in my chest finally went away. I knew the sentence was 54 months, and I would be spending it at Pensacola Prison Camp. I slept better than I had in years in spite of the conditions.

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We’ve all seen plenty of movies and TV shows about prison, but I strongly suspect no one knows what it’s really like unless they’ve been there.


It’s true. The county jails I was in were very noisy and violent. I’ll never forget the first night in a cell when the door slammed shut and locked, and I thought, there is nothing I can do to get out of here. None of the good or bad things I’ve done made a difference. I couldn’t talk or buy my way out of that cell. Prison was a very humbling experience, and it changes anyone. You can come out of prison a much better person if you choose to. Most people don’t see it as an opportunity to better yourself. They feel self-pity, anger, or both. I had to accept that this was where I was, and maybe I could somehow use the experience to become a better husband, father, leader or businessman. That’s what I focused on for 11 months. I could have dwelled on how many other people sold prohormones and never went to jail. I’m sure we both know plenty of people who sold steroids and never got in trouble. Any time those thoughts crept into my head, I reminded myself how lucky I was to even have a family to go back to, and that my business was still operating. There’s a lot to be thankful for if you choose to look for it, and that’s true of life in general.


I have to ask, were you afraid for your personal safety at any point in prison?


No, and not because I was safe at all times. I just wasn’t thinking about it too much. I only came close to getting into a fight once, and it was over the phone. Anyone who’s been to prison knows that’s a sensitive area. There was a line of guys waiting to use the phone, and you only got seven minutes for your call. An hour later you can use it again. Long story short, the first guy went to use the phone again before I’d made my call. I said hey dude, I’m just trying to call my wife. He ignored me. The next day, as soon as the first guy got off the phone, I took it from him and started dialing. Him and his buddies all crowded around me like they were going to do something, and I calmly said, you can have it in seven minutes. I need to call my wife. They left me alone, and from then on, they put me in the rotation to make calls. I did see a lot of fights and a lot of violence, but I was never the target of it. I’m not a badass, but I wasn’t about to let anyone take advantage of me. I think I made it very clear that no one was going to walk all over me. People pick up that vibe.


You took advantage of the time you were incarcerated and did something very productive by writing a book. How did that come about?


I started the book before I went in. During COVID I got into outdoor walking and eventually was doing hundreds of miles a week. Out of boredom, I would tell some of my life stories on my Instagram live while I was on the walks. At some point I mentioned having done heroin, and so many people were blown away by that admission. I realized that a lot of people who were following me didn’t know that Aaron. They only knew me as the CEO and founder of Redcon1 and nothing about my crazy past. People lost their minds. I got a lot of comments from people who were inspired or impressed that I had come from such a low point and gone on to such success. What touched me the most were parents with kids struggling with addiction who said they’d lost hope for their child, but hearing my story gave them hope that their child had a future. Soon I felt I owed it to people to tell my whole story. I’ve lived an unusual life with so many ups and downs and I’ve learned so much along the way. Maybe I could create a self-help/business advice/memoir book that people would find entertaining and educational, gain some value from, and maybe get inspired by. Once I started writing it, I realized people could get hope from reading it. I’ve been around murders, overdoses, drug deals and also major celebrities and that world. I never had the opportunity to talk about all of it until writing this book. I started writing it six to seven months before I went in, assuming I would go to trial, be vindicated, and that would be the end of the book.


Clearly there was more to your story.


Prison gave the book a whole other twist. I now had the time to write. I hired a professional editor, and we went back and forth with changes. I started reading the finished chapters to my three cellmates, who told others how good it was and soon there would be 30 guys listening. Like working out, it gave me a mental break from the monotony and stress of prison. I didn’t finish it there because I didn’t want that to be the end of my story. I believe it’s going to end at the 2022 Olympia.


It sounds like a movie to me.


I do think it has the potential to be a movie or a Netflix series, and the book itself could get on the New York Times Best Sellers list for non-fiction. It will be coming out in hardcover, digitally and on audio books everywhere books are sold, on April 25.


If I don’t ask this question I will be crucified, so here goes. You served less than a year on a 52-month sentence. There were a deluge of posts and videos with rumors and speculation as to how you got out so early. How did you?


I can’t go into tremendous detail. First off, I had a fantastic legal team who were working on my release from the day I went in. What I will say is that the reasons were directly related to my health. Also, there is a law signed by President Trump called the First Step Act that gives people credit and can take a year off your sentence. There is also something called the CARES Act that was applied to Trump appointees Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. It allows people to get out early based on health conditions. The world at large may not be too worried about Covid anymore, but the prison system still is. Because of my health conditions, great lawyers and changes in the law, I was able to get out early. As for the rumors, our industry is very small and news travels very fast. If any of the suspicions or accusations about me getting out through some other way are true, you would be hearing about it soon.


As for Redcon1, I got the sense that while you were away your company was getting away from its bodybuilding roots and attempting to go mainstream. Is that a fair observation?


In prison, you’re not allowed to conduct business or else your sentence can be extended, and you can lose privileges like phone calls. I got reports, but I missed quite a bit. I found out about a lot of things after the fact, such as the Blessing situation. He had just won two shows and then we dropped him. That obviously wouldn’t have happened if I had been there. I didn’t know about it and I was surprised, and immediately got him picked back up. We got him back, but he got his green card and ended up quitting. I can see why he did and I don’t blame him. In his mind, the loyalty was gone. He’s still a gentleman to me and gives me credit for helping him out. I consider Blessing a friend. People here weren’t even aware he had won the shows. They weren’t putting out any content with him, so they felt they weren’t getting a lot out of him and let him go. That’s a microcosm of the issues that were going on at Redcon1. Financially we did just as well in 2022 as we had in 2021. That may sound good to some people, but not to me because it was the first year we hadn’t grown substantially. We had earned the title of “Fastest growing sports supplement company in history.” Being back here in my office for a month now, I feel lucky to have held our sales. That being said, we will be going back to our roots in terms of bodybuilding, the military, police and first responders. The company was trying to be everything to everybody. Redcon1 is a military term that means, “the highest state of readiness or preparedness.” That can apply to a soccer mom, a Navy SEAL or a professional bodybuilder. Who doesn’t want to be prepared? I think we took it too literally and started thinking we had to market to the soccer mom, the guy who’s never worked out before, or the teacher who needs to lose 20 pounds and stopped considering our core audience and what we stand for as a business. I never wanted to be everything to everybody. I wanted to make supplements for a specific group of people that believe in the same things we do: patriotic, hardworking, blue-collar Americans with a strong work ethic who treat people the way they want to be treated, and support our military and police. Anyone can use our products and that’s great, but that’s who I make them for. Trying to appeal to everybody isn’t how we got to where we are. I’ve seen other brands do that in an attempt to get to the next level, but it hurt the brand. I don’t want to be a big corporate company that appeals to the masses.


The 2022 Olympia Weekend happened shortly after your release, and I wondered if you would go. Maybe you would lay low because people would point and whisper about you. But there you were, and Redcon1 had a big booth right up front at the expo near the stage.


I love bodybuilding. I wanted to be at the Olympia and see the show. There were a lot of new competitors I was excited about. Another element was that I felt we had to have a strong presence there to restart the brand and show people that we are still here. A lot of big-name companies were not there. We were already sponsoring the show and would have a logo onstage, but the booth only came together in the last few weeks. I thought it would be a great way to hear from the fans directly. I always use the shows as a barometer of where we are. Social media gives us access to them and vice versa, but it’s very different to be at a show and see who is wearing our shirts, who wants to meet me and what they have to say, which athletes and products they are excited about. I felt I had to be there. I had already decided I wasn’t going to hide out. Thousands of people came up to me and I didn’t have one negative reaction. Every comment I got was positive or constructive; products people wanted to see come back, go away or change. People were really loving our new energy drink, which they told me tasted better than any others they had tried. The Redcon1 Energy Drink is our big bet to take us to new heights in 2023 and reclaim the title of fastest-growing sports supplement company in history.


I wish you very best in that goal. It was so good seeing you at the Olympia and I’m very happy you are out and back with your family and running your company again.


Thanks, Ron!


Instagram @redcon1

Instagram @aaronsingerman

Ron Harris got his start in the bodybuilding industry during the eight years he worked in Los Angeles as Associate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Magazine” show in the 1990s. Since 1992 he has published nearly 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, making him the most prolific bodybuilding writer ever. Ron has been training since the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. Facebook Instagram