A federal grand jury has issued 20 charges against a newly elected Missouri state representative for allegedly promoting and selling fraudulent stem cell treatment that she marketed through her clinics, claiming that it can be a “potential cure” for COVID-19.
According to the federal prosecutors, the investigation revealed that Patricia “Tricia” Ashton Derges, 63, has been making “false statements” about the treatment that had been sold in her three clinics in southern Missouri.
Prosecutors said that Degres, a licensed assistant physician who was elected in November 2020, wrote in a Facebook post in April last year, saying that the treatment “stands to provide a potential cure for COVID-19 patients that is safe and natural.”
After running tests with the treatment, it was found out that stem cells were not included in making the substance.
“This defendant abused her privileged position to enrich herself through deception,” said Tim Garrison, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. “The indictment alleges she lied to her patients and she lied to federal agents. As an elected official and a health care provider, she deserves to be held to a high standard. This grand jury indictment exposes her deception and holds her accountable for her actions.”
Degres now faces “a 20-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury” in Springfield, Missouri, including charges related to illegal provision of drug prescriptions and wire fraud.
“Medical professionals who knowingly abuse their power by prescribing medications, without ensuring they are for legitimate medical purposes, take advantage of the public’s trust,” said Inez Davis, St. Louis Division Diversion Program Manager for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“With the support of our enforcement partners, DEA will investigate to the maximum extent of our ability to ensure these individuals are prevented from risking lives within our communities,” Davis added.
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