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State lawmaker faces more charges accused of multiple fraud schemes

State Rep. Tricia Derges.
Office of state Rep. Tricia Derges
State Rep. Tricia Derges.


A Missouri state representative faces additional federal charges linked to a COVID-19 fraud scheme involving a Springfield charity.

Republican Rep. Tricia Derges was indicted in February connected to a fraud scheme that marketed a fake stem cell treatment.

State lawmakers, including the speaker of the house, have asked Derges to resign but she has refused. Derges was removed from the Missouri GOP caucus last month.

The US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri announced in a release Friday morning a federal grand jury indicted Derges on a 23-count superseding indictment.

The indictment includes eight counts of wire fraud from December 2018 to May 2020 for the scheme that apparently marketed a stem cell treatment that actually used fluid that did not contain the cells. Derges is also accused of 10 counts of distributing medication over the internet without a valid prescription and two counts of making false statements.

Court spokesman Don Ledford said in the release the new indictment includes the original charges filed last month and three additional charges of COVID-19 fraud.

The indictment claimed that Derges fraudulently received nearly $300,000 in CARES Act money to provide COVID-19 testing to patients of a Springfield area nonprofit, Lift Up. Federal prosecutors said the testing was never provided and that the clinic was closed for months during the pandemic.

In addition, Derges allegedly sought nearly $900,000 in CARES Act funding on Lift Up's behalf. Derges' claimed on her CARES Act application that the funding would pay for COVID-19 testing and other 'eligible expenses,' the release said. Derges allegedly included invoices in the application that came from a separate for-profit health clinic she runs, Ozark Valley Medical Clinic.

The indictment includes a forfeiture allegation which would require Derges to forfeit all property and money gained from the schemes to the federal government.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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