Tulsa Woman Charged With Million Dollar Cancer Treatment Scam
TULSA, Okla. — The operator of a cancer treatment clinic formerly located in Owasso and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Antonella Carpenter, 70, appeared in federal court today before United States Magistrate Judge Paul J. Cleary to face 41 counts of fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma. The grand jury returned the charges in a superseding indictment filed October 15, 2014. Carpenter entered a plea of not guilty to all charges.
“This prosecution demonstrates the commitment of the United States Attorney’s Office to seek justice for those most vulnerable victims of fraud who seek hope and healing after the anguish of a cancer diagnosis,” said U.S. Attorney Williams.
The superseding indictment alleges that from approximately November 2006 to December 2012, Carpenter orchestrated a scheme to obtain money from cancer patients by means of false and fraudulent representations. Carpenter claimed to be able to cure various kinds of cancer by using lasers to heat cancerous tissue injected with a mixture of saline solution and dye composed of either ordinary food dye or walnut hull extract. Carpenter called her treatment method “Light Induced Enhanced Selective Hyperthemia” or “LIESH.” The superseding indictment alleges that Carpenter made materially false claims to patients about LIESH, including that the treatments were 100% effective on any type of tissue and that they had absolutely no negative side effects. Carpenter, who is not a medical doctor, operated her clinic under the name “Lase Med.”
Counts 1 through 5 of the superseding indictment allege that Carpenter induced persons to travel in interstate commerce in an effort to defraud them of at least $5,000. Counts 6 through 39 allege that Carpenter used interstate wire communications to defraud patients. Counts 40 and 41 allege that Carpenter used the United States mails in furtherance of her fraudulent scheme.
Carpenter faces up to 10 years of imprisonment on Counts 1 through 5, and up to 20 years of imprisonment on the remaining counts, in addition to other penalties, including a forfeiture judgment in the amount of at least $1,102,160 representing proceeds obtained as a result of Carpenter’s fraudulent scheme.
The case has been investigated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration–Office of Criminal Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin C. Leitch, Clemon Ashley and Catherine Depew.
Carpenter is a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.