Man Cites Raid In Wife's Death

Posted: Nov. 22, 2012 | 2:00 a.m.

An 86-year-old medical researcher charged with defrauding chronically ill patients in a stem cell implant scheme blamed the government Wednesday for the death of his wife.

After three hours of testimony, the Romanian-born Alfred Sapse told the jury in his federal trial that he believes the conduct of federal agents during a raid at his Las Vegas residence early in the investigation traumatized his 88-year-old wife, Renee, who was bedridden at the time.

Under questioning from his defense lawyer, Daniel Albregts, Sapse testified that federal agents threatened to have her removed from the residence if he failed to cooperate with investigators.

Sapse, speaking in a thick Romanian accent, said three days after the raid he found his wife outside on their balcony during a cold winter night, and she caught pneumonia and later died.

Sapse said he wrote a letter complaining about the couple’s treatment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which led the raid, but the agency never did anything about it.

His testimony followed a lengthy stint on the witness stand Monday and Tuesday by his co-defendant, Henderson pediatrician Ralph Conti, who has been practicing medicine here since 1990.

Sapse and Conti, 51, are facing conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud charges in the courtroom of Senior U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson. The trial is in its third week and will continue Monday with the cross-examination of Sapse.

In his testimony Wednesday, Sapse said he earned his medical degree in Romania and acknowledged he was not a licensed doctor in the United States.

He said he has spent most of his medical career as a researcher, and he took credit for developing the anti-aging drug Gerovital and getting it legalized in Nevada in the 1970s when the FDA wouldn’t approve it.

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Man Cites Raid In Wife's Death