Guilty. That’s the verdict in a federal fraud case against state Representative Tricia Derges, R-Nixa. After a two week federal trial in Springfield, a jury has convicted her on 22 counts, including wire fraud, illegal distribution of controlled substances and making false statements to investigators.

State Representative Tricia Derges, R-Nixa

Derges sold fake stem cell treatments at medical clinics she operates in southwest Missouri’s Springfield, Branson, and Ozark – a scheme totaling about $200,000. Among other things, she sold the bogus treatments to patients who suffered from, a variety of health conditions, including kidney disease, COPD, and Lyme disease.

Derges also fraudulently received about $300,000 in federal coronavirus aid for her nonprofit clinic, Lift Up Springfield, which serves the poor, homeless, and uninsured. Prosecutors say she concealed the reimbursements her clinics had already received for those services.

The investigation started as a result of false or misleading statements made by Derges in April 2020 to a Springfield television station about her potential use of stem cells to treat COVID-19.

U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore

“This was an elected official who stole money from the public – a purported humanitarian who cheated and lied to her patients and a medical professional who illegally distributed drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore. “Ms. Derges violated her position of trust to enrich herself at the expense of others, but a jury of her peers, in a unanimous verdict, saw through the lies and excuses and ridiculous statements. Now she will be held accountable for her crimes.”

Derges has maintained her innocence. She did not testify during her trial.

Derges is out on bond – with restrictions. Her medical licenses and passport have been forfeited. The judge has directed Derges that she cannot call herself a doctor and teach or speak publicly about stem cells.

She is expected to be sentenced at a later date.

What does the conviction mean for her political career? Under Missouri law, a person cannot run for public office if they have been found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony under federal laws.

Derges attempted to file for re-election this year but the Missouri Republican Party blocked her from doing so. Missouri House leadership called on her to resign once the charges against her surfaced, but Derges has refused to listen. She was stripped of her committee assignments and had an office in the basement of the Capitol that measured the size of a broom closet.

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