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Tricia Derges is accused of wire fraud and illegally prescribing drugs.
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Tricia Derges is accused of wire fraud and illegally prescribing drugs.

Nonprofit leader, state legislator indicted on 20 counts

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State Rep. Tricia Derges, a nonprofit leader and health care clinic operator, has been indicted for an alleged wire fraud scheme and illegally providing prescription drugs to clients.

Derges, 63, of Nixa, was charged in a 20-count indictment unsealed on Monday, according to a news release from the office of Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. The indictment was unsealed following Derges' self-surrender and initial court appearance, the release said.

In the indictment, Derges is accused of defrauding five patients to the tune of nearly $200,000 through her Ozark Valley Medical Clinic practice. Derges allegedly claimed amniotic fluid she purchased from the University of Utah had stem cells for use in regenerative medicine. In actuality, the fluid did not contain cells, federal officials say.

The indictment additionally alleges Derges violated the Controlled Substances Act by distributing Oxycodone and Adderall online to people without valid prescriptions, according to the release.

Derges, who is not a physician but is licensed as an assistant physician, also allegedly made false statements to federal agents regarding the stem cells, according to the indictment.

“This defendant abused her privileged position to enrich herself through deception,” Garrison said in the release. “The indictment alleges she lied to her patients and she lied to federal agents. As an elected official and a health care provider, she deserves to be held to a high standard."

Derges in November was elected to a two-year term in the Missouri House of Representatives. The Republican serves in District 140, representing Christian County, according to House.Mo.gov. In the House, she serves on committees overseeing health and mental health policy, professional registration and licensing, and small businesses, according to Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Book of Lists.

Founder of Springfield nonprofit Lift Up Someone Today, Derges in 2018 won the Humanitarian Award from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc. Lift Up Someone Today provides medical and dental services with a mission “dedicated to the care of our poverty-stricken and homeless neighbors," according to past reporting. Derges and her husband Dan, a veteran banker, are listed as the only officers on Lift Up Someone Today’s board of directors.

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