Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 | 3:38 p.m.
A Las Vegas man was sentenced today to more than 17 years in jail for conspiring with a now-deceased Henderson pediatrician to steal thousands of dollars from chronically ill patients through fraudulent stem cell implant procedures.
Alfred Sapse, 87, was convicted by a jury in November 2012 of seven counts of mail fraud and 11 counts of wire fraud. He was sentenced to serve 17.5 years in federal prison and ordered to pay approximately $1 million in restitution, said Daniel Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.
According to the indictment, Sapse claimed to be a retired foreign physician who has never been licensed to practice medicine anywhere in the U.S. In 2005, He convinced chronically ill patients to implant placental tissue into their abdomens, Bogden said.
He claimed it would cure them even though he didn’t know its short- or long-term effects, or receive approvals from the Food and Drug Administration.
Sapse hired Dr. Ralph M Conti of Henderson, who had no stem cell training, to perform the procedures. Conti operated on 34 patients in 2006, with two patients receiving an infection. The Food and Drug Administration sent Sapse and Conti a warning to stop performing their procedure, but they continued to operate, Bogden said.
Sapse continued his operation in Nuevo Progresso, Mexico, with a separate physician, who operated on approximately 100 patients from 2007 to 2010, Bogden said.
Sapse collected approximately $1 million from patients and investors, of which he used $700,000 on gambling. Conti collected more than $60,000 for performing the procedures, Bogden said.
None of the money they collected was used for research, Bogden said.
Conti, originally a co-defendant in the case, died in the weeks following the conviction.