Missouri state Rep. Tricia Derges resigned after she was convicted on 22 counts for fraudulently receiving hundreds of thousands of federal stimulus dollars during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as fraudulently marketing a stem cell treatment and illegally prescribing drugs to patients, The Hill reported.
A Department of Justice press release explained that Derges, a Republican, applied for almost $900,000 in CARES Act funds for what she said were coronavirus testing costs incurred by nonprofit Lift Up, even though the organization never provided any testing services.
The DOJ said Derges supported her funding claim by providing COVID-19 test receipts for her business, Ozark Valley Medical Clinic, which is profit-based, according to The Hill.
The clinic had already charged clients $167 per test, according to the DOJ, but a county commission paid Derges’s nonprofit $296,574 in CARES Act funds based on the fraudulent request. Derges then sent the funds to her for-profit clinic.
“This is an elected official who stole money from the public, a purported humanitarian who cheated and lied to her patients, and a medical professional who illegally distributed drugs,” U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore said in the press release. “She violated her position of trust to selfishly enrich herself at the expense of others. But a jury of her peers, in a unanimous verdict, saw through her smokescreen of excuses and ridiculous claims, and now she will be held accountable for her criminal behavior.”
The charges Derges was convicted of carry a maximum combined sentence of 410 years in prison, according to The Hill.
In her resignation letter, Derges made no mention of the charges, instead stating that “it has truly been an honor to serve the citizens of the 140th District. They are some of the finest people I have ever met.
"To be a part of the process that helped bring positive change to our community and to assist with many of the personal struggles of my constituents is something I will forever treasure.”
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