Stem cell con men plead guilty, face jail time

A self-proclaimed doctor and his so-called research associate plead guilty after a 60 Minutes hidden camera investigation into dubious stem cell treatments

(CBS News) Back in April 2010, hidden cameras captured what Scott Pelley called "one of the most outrageous cons" ever reported by 60 Minutes. A self-proclaimed doctor named Lawrence Stowe was promising desperately ill patients the impossible -- a chance to reverse the incurable, from autism to multiple sclerosis to every kind of cancer. How? With dubious stem cell treatments that could cost upward of $100,000.

Our report kicked off an investigation of Stowe and his so-called research associate, Frank Morales, by both the FDA and FBI. Last week, Stowe and Morales entered guilty pleas in a conspiracy to introduce misbranded and unapproved new drugs into interstate commerce, the FDA's Patrick J. Holland announced, calling the pleas "a victory for the American public." He added that the case demonstrates "the FDA's commitment to investigating cases of individuals and business that prey on the sick and vulnerable with phony medical treatments."

Both Stowe and Morales face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each conspiracy conviction. To see Scott's two-part report, "21st Century Snake Oil," click on the following links:

21st Century Snake Oil, Part 1
21st Century Snake Oil, Part 2

To read the Justice Department's press release, click here

  • Vidya Singh

More 60 minutes Overtime

Comments