Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Bad Medicine
Money for Nothing
Money for Nothing
12/27/2011: People who donated their baby's umbilical cords and placentas to the Maternity Care Center in Del Rio, Texas, thought they were going towards research were, but, according to a grand jury indictment handed down Tuesday, they were lied to. The clinic's owner, Jesus Alberto Ramon, who is not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., sold them for profit, big profit. The mail trail of the shipments is complicated, but according the 19-page indictment, he shipped the items to Global Laboratories in Arizona, who then forwarded them to South Carolina pathologist and MUSC professor Vincent Dammai, 50, who harvested the cells using the university's equipment. Dammai mailed the harvested stem cells to Francisco Morales, 52, who used them in Mexico, in ways not approved by the F.D.A, to inject patients with incurable diseases. Morales also presented himself in the U.S. as a doctor involved in stem cell research at Harvard, Duke and U.C.L.A. All three men were arrested Tuesday. Prosecutors believe the trio made over $1.5 million off their patients. They are all charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Morales is also charged with unlawful distribution of stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood and Ramon with introduction of an unapproved new drug. Morales faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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