More on the Snake Oil salesman: Las Vegas 'Doc' Accused of Scamming Terminally Ill Patients
Posted Jul 28 2010 12:00am
A Las Vegas man who misrepresented himself as a retired physician convinced more than 100 chronically ill patients to undergo experimental stem cell implant procedures that he claimed could cure incurable diseases, federal agents say.
Authorities say Alfred T. Sapse, 84, formed a corporation called Stem Cell Pharma Inc. in May 2005 to give the impression that he ran a legitimate pharmaceutical company, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Special agents with the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations arrested Sapse on July 15 and charged him with seven counts of mail fraud, 13 counts of wire fraud and criminal forfeiture. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each count, as well as forfeiture of money or property up to $913,748.
He was released after appearing before a federal magistrate judge on a personal recognizance bond until his trial.
According to the indictment, Sapse issued dozens of press releases claiming to have developed a procedure that extracts stem cells from human placentas to treat severe diseases like multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and retinitis pigmentosa — claiming to do so by implanting portions of placental tissue, which he said were obtained from cesarean section births, into patients’ abdomens.