SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A federal grand jury has indicted a Missouri state legislator on fraud expenses after she falsely promoted a treatment she was promoting at medical clinics as containing stem cells that might deal with varied illnesses, together with COVID-19.
The 20-count indictment unsealed Monday additionally accuses 63-year-old Rep. Tricia Derges, a Republican from Nixa, Missouri, of illegally offering prescribed drugs to purchasers and making false statements to federal brokers investigating the case.
Derges didn’t instantly reply to cellphone and e mail messages looking for remark. She was launched on her personal recognizance after making an preliminary courtroom look throughout which she pleaded not responsible to all the costs.
Her protection lawyer, Stacie Bilyeu, stated that after the U.S. lawyer’s workplace held a information convention to announce the indictment, Derges’ social media was flooded with feedback by individuals who assumed by what they heard that she was responsible, which she known as unlucky.
“These are simply allegations, these are simply expenses,” Bilyeu stated. “Dr. Derges hasn’t been convicted of a factor and she or he is presumed harmless till, and if, she is — and that merely hasn’t occurred but.”
Prosecutors say Derges administered amniotic fluid, which she falsely claimed contained stem cells, as a treatment to sufferers who suffered from varied illnesses, together with erectile dysfunction, Lyme illness and urinary incontinence.
Derges, who was elected in November 2020, additionally allegedly wrote in an April Fb publish: “This superb treatment stands to supply a possible treatment for COVID-19 sufferers that’s secure and pure,” based on the indictment.
A Nationwide Institutes of Well being panel recommends towards stem cells’ use for COVID-19 exterior of medical trials.
U.S. Lawyer Tim Garrison stated in a information launch that Derges abused “her privileged place to counterpoint herself” by way of deception.
“The indictment alleges she lied to her sufferers and she or he lied to federal brokers,” Garrison stated. “As an elected official and a well being care supplier, she deserves to be held to a excessive commonplace. This grand jury indictment exposes her deception and holds her accountable for her actions.”
Derges just isn’t a doctor however is licensed as an assistant doctor, based on the U.S. lawyer’s workplace. She operates three Ozark Valley Medical Clinic websites in Springfield, Ozark and Branson.
Her lawyer contends Derges has a medical diploma, though she couldn’t instantly recall from which college.
Eight counts towards Derges contain 5 victims who misplaced practically $200,000 in a fraud scheme that lasted from December 2018 to Might 2020. She can also be accused in 10 counts of distributing Oxycodone and Adderall over the web with out legitimate prescriptions. Two counts accuse her of constructing false statements to federal brokers.
“Derges vowed to do no hurt as a well being care skilled and was elected to serve the individuals, not deceive them,” stated Timothy Langan, particular agent in control of the FBI in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri. “She used her place for private achieve and broken the general public’s belief.”
A jury trial was set for March 22.