JEFFERSON CITY — A Springfield state lawmaker accused of promoting a fake stem cell treatment quit Friday after a jury found her guilty of wire fraud, illegal distribution of controlled substances and making false statements to investigators.
“This letter is to tender my resignation to the Missouri House of Representatives,” former state representative Tricia Derges, R-Nixa, wrote Friday to House Speaker Rob Vescovo.
A federal grand jury indicted Derges in early 2021 for making false claims about the treatment and illegally distributing prescription drugs to patients.
Prosecutors said Derges administered amniotic fluid, which she falsely claimed contained stem cells, as a treatment for patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, including erectile dysfunction, Lyme disease and urinary incontinence.
The charges included eight counts of wire fraud, ten counts of violating the federal Controlled Substances Act and two counts of making false statements to federal agents.
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A second indictment in March 2021 accused Derges, who was an assistant physician and founded medical clinics in southwestern Missouri, of fraudulently filing claims for $900,000 in federal COVID-19 funds.
A jury on Tuesday found Derges guilty on all 22 counts, the Springfield News-Leader reported, and ordered her to forfeit $300,000 in federal pandemic funds from Greene County.
Derges, first elected to the Missouri House in 2020, declined to resign despite pressure after being indicted in early 2021.
She was stripped of her House committee duties and given an office in a broom closet in the Capitol after federal charges were filed against her in 2021.
The Missouri Republican Party moved in February to prevent Derges from running for reelection to the GOP. Her name is not on any list of candidates running in the primary on August 2.
After Derges, 64, was convicted after a two-week trial, federal prosecutors demanded that Judge Brian Wimes revoke her bail, calling her a flight risk, citing her ties to the Caribbean and a danger to the community, the News-Leader reported. . She graduated in 2014 from the Caribbean Medical University on the Dutch island of Curaçao.
Derges was a successful businesswoman in the Springfield area when she decided to enter medicine at age 50 to fulfill what she described as a religious calling. A Texas native, Derges graduated from Kirkwood High School in suburban St. Louis in 1975, where she was recognized in 2019 by several “outstanding” alumni.
Wimes allowed Derges to remain out on bail pending sentencing, which may not take longer than four months. He ordered Derges to surrender her passport and medical licenses and instructed her not to call herself a doctor or speak publicly about stem cells.
Originally posted on Saturday, July 2 at 9:15 PM.