A former executive with a Shirley pharmaceutical company pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges of stealing thousands of bottles of a racehorse medication that he later sold to trainers.

Gregory Settino, 58, of Bethpage, pleaded guilty in Eastern District Court in Central Islip to one count of theft of medical products after he was charged in September. He could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced next October. He remains free on $250,000 bond.

"With today’s guilty plea, Settino has been held accountable for stealing, from his then-employer, thousands of bottles of an injectable drug administered to horses, which he resold to trainers and vets potentially endangering the health of horses at New York racetracks because the stolen drugs were not handled properly," acting Eastern District U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement.

The stolen drugs were valued at more than $1 million, DuCharme's statement said.

Settino was the production supervisor of manufacturing at Luitpold Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Shirley from 2012 to January 2020 when, prosecutors said, he stole thousands of bottles of the injectable horse degenerative joint-treatment drug, Adequan. The company was renamed in January 2019 as American Regent.

The stolen drugs were sold to horse trainers and veterinarians at various racetracks, such as at Belmont Park, for more than $600,000.

Prosecutors said Settino endangered the lives of horses because the drugs he stole were not properly maintained and at times were transported in shoe boxes in his car, violating FDA protocols. The Adequan label says the drug must be stored in temperatures from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be most effective.

Settino told Food and Drug Administration agents that he stole fewer than 100 bottles, leading to a second charge of making a false statement to a federal agent, according to court records.

Settino’s Mineola attorney, Anthony Grandinette, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

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