A grand jury in Orange County this month issued a federal indictment against a Southern California doctor who government regulators claim sold more than $1.6 million worth of an unapproved, questionable cancer cure.
Dr. Benedict Liao now faces 27 charges, including wire fraud, mislabeling his product and introducing unapproved drugs into interstate commerce.
During a six-year period ending in Jan. 2017, Liao knew the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned him from selling his trademark Allesgen, a pineapple extract, as a safe alternative to chemotherapy and radiation, according to the indictment.
Government investigators say the doctor manufactured the product in Fullerton and sold $2,000 doses to desperate cancer patients in Alabama, New York, Florida, California, Washington and Pennsylvania as well as internationally.
“Liao knowingly devised a scheme to defraud purchasers of the drug Allesgen and to obtain money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses and the concealment of material facts,” federal prosecutors declared in their 14-page indictment.
The doctor, who operates Oeyama-Moto Cancer Research Foundation, LLC and Oeyama-Moto Medical Group, LLC in West Covina, twice tried to win clinical trials and FDA approval but failed.
Prosecutors claim Liao also used alias—Wada Masao and Masao A. Wada—to attempt to trick officials into accepting the legitimacy of his scheme that attempted to bypass regulations by labeling Allesgen “a supplement,” not a drug.
According to a 2014 warning letter following onsite inspections, the FDA confronted Liao for claiming without proof that Allesgen “inhibited tumor growth in humans” and, unlike radiation or chemotherapy, “prolonged periods with Allesgen are effective and without side effects.”
That correspondence also advised the doctor, a Taiwan native who was born in 1940, to stop telling patients that the FDA permitted his sales.
Liao has not yet entered a plea in the criminal case which will proceed inside Santa Ana’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse with U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna presiding.
[UPDATE, Jan. 29, 2019: Dr. Liao faced arraignment proceedings yesterday, was forced to surrender his passport, freed on a $75,000 bond and ordered to appear for a tentatively-scheduled March 26 trial launch.]
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; featured in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.