Former Missouri lawmaker sentenced for fraud schemes

Feb 28, 2023, 4:47 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A former state lawmaker was sentenced Tuesday to six years and three months in federal prison for fraud schemes committed while she ran several medical clinics in southwest Missouri.

Tricia Derges, a Republican from Nixa, was also ordered to pay $500,600 in restitution, federal prosecutors said.

She was convicted in June 2022 on 22 counts, including wire fraud, illegal distribution of controlled substances and making false statements to investigators.

Derges was elected to the Missouri House in 2020 and resigned days after she was convicted.

Prosecutors said Derges, an assistant physician, falsely told patients she was treating them with stem cells and fraudulently tried to obtain nearly $900,000 in COVID-19 related funds.

Derges founded and operated several medical clinics in southwest Missouri, including Ozark Valley Medical Clinic locations and the nonprofit Lift Up Springfield.

She also was convicted of illegally providing prescriptions for Oxycodone and Adderall to patients without conducting in-person evaluations.

Federal prosecutor Randy Eggert had sought eight years in prison for Derges, while her attorney, Al Watkins, asked for probation.

Before sentencing, Derges touted the thousands of underprivileged individuals she helped through her clinics. She said her mistakes were made “unknowingly” and without criminal intent, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

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Former Missouri lawmaker sentenced for fraud schemes