CBS News recently did a 60-minute segment about stem cell fraud. Their report first started two years ago with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Steven Watters and Michael Martin. Doctors Lawrence Stowe and Frank Morales offered a $125,000 stem cell therapy that was promised to get them out of their wheelchairs. This CBS News’ original 60-minutes exclusive segment launched a federal investigation. Last week, Morales and Stowe were indicted. The allocations of $1.5 million stem cell fraud carry a 20 year prison sentence. Unfortunately, the patients who made the segment possible lost their lives to ALS last spring.
Since CBS’s first segment, they have continued to dig into this rapidly growing trade of fake stem cell cures. Online there are hundreds of credible sounds websites that offer stem cell cures in oversea clinics. What are even more alarming are the illegal stem cell transplant kits that are delivered to your doorstep or often performed in secret, illegal and dangerous hotel transplants. To investigate, CBS asked help from the Susser family who have twin 11-year-old twins. One has cerebral palsy because his brain was damaged by lack of oxygen before he was born.
Stem Tech labs of Ecuador promises cures for cerebral palsy and as many as 70 other incurable diseases and the website claims they “are FDA registered”. Without any medical or scientific credentials, 60-minutes bought 20 million umbilical cord stem cells for $5,000 and had them shipped to America when they first started this story two years ago. When analyzed, the cells were dead, dying or disintegrated. It is a felony to use stem cells in an unapproved therapy or to sell them for export to the United States. In October, 60-minutes asked the Sussers to contact Dr. Ecklund and Stem Tech Labs of Ecuador. Ecklund took it a step farther by coming to meet the family at a hotel to perform an illegal stem cell transfer.These scams prey on the families of individuals with incurable illnesses as they spend their last dollar on any hope of a cure.
To read the whole story and watch portions of the segment, click here.
Fraud Dog says that the fraudster will attack any age, gender, race, or disability. Website fraudsters are everywhere, especially with high end frauds like stem cell fraud. Fraudsters prey upon people’s desperation and weaknesses. Due diligence is key to this type of fraud. Ask for a physical address, and go to any internet satellite map system to get a picture of the location of the lab. Ask who owns the property, and would they give your company a recommendation. Ask for references. Have them walk you through the “cooling process” in order to save active “stem cells” from dying. Contact the national organization for that particular disability to see if they endorse this stem cell organization. Ask for a list of “white paper” or medical journals that they have printed on the subject matter. Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges. Tell the stem cell company that you will seek “authentication” of product by taking it first to a research lab for validation prior to any payment. Remember the fraudster preys upon any VICTIM who is willing to play their game. Don’t be a victim.
Contact Contego Services Group today for risk management services, fraud investigation services and more. Whether you’re looking for help with medical fraud, medicare fraud or any other type of fraud, Linda Webb and Contego Services Group can help you take down the fraudsters that are hurting your business. Call 1-855-WE-SWARM today.