Stem cell fraud

So, what's happening lately in the stem-cell fraud department?

The World Stem Cell Center in Seoul, Korea has been closed down following Hwang's demise. Some say its equipment will be used for a new center, focused on adult stem cell technology.

In my own fair state of Utah, the news today included federal charges against three men, two of them former Utahns, who organized and operated an overseas investment scheme involving a scam stem-cell research facility in Utah. The business license for their company, Stem Genetics, Inc. expired in 2004.

According to the news article by Wendy Leonard, Michael Newman and Allen Wolfson, about five years ago, "were allegedly looking for a stem-cell research company in the United States with which to associate and solicit investments from overseas investors.... When they were unsuccessful, ...they organized their own company...and opened an office in Salt Lake City." The principals discussed stem-cell research with other doctors, but never set up a research facility themselves. Meanwhile, in calls to potential investors, they discussed the promising research they were doing.

These two men, and Allen Wolfson, are believed to have bilked more than 600 investors out of approximately $6.6 million, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office. Because they limited their stock sales to investors outside the U.S., they didn't have to register the stock with the Security and Exchange Commission.

The courts may have to wait a while to try these defendants: "Allen Wolfson currently resides in New York and is facing fraud charges there as well. It is unknown where his son is, and Newman is believed to be serving a prison term in Laos."

Marie Godfrey, PhD

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