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SC Lawmaker Focus Of Stem Cell Probe

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S.C. Rep. Stephen Goldfinch (RINO-Murrells Inlet) is the focus of an ongoing federal investigation into illegal organ sales and stem cell harvesting, sources tell FITS.

Additional charges – including perjury, obstruction of justice, falsification of medical records and misuse of state and federal funds – could also be forthcoming.

The investigation of Goldfinch – confirmed to FITS by a senior federal law enforcement agent familiar with the case – involves a company called CureSource and another firm called Caledonia Consulting Company, LLC. Goldfinch was an officer with CureSource and the founder of Caledonia Consulting Company LLC – which was dissolved in April 2006.

Caledonia is referenced on the webpage of Dr. Vincent Dammai – a Texas-based molecular biologist and former MUSC professor who pleaded guilty this summer to a misdemeanor charge of “mislabeling” stem cells.

“Dammai admitted that beginning in 2006 while employed with (MUSC), he used university facilities to harvest and process stem cells for a company called Caledonia Consulting located in South Carolina,” an FBI news release states. “He further admitted he harvested stem cells for Caledonia from March 2006 through December 2008 and was paid approximately $161,625.”

Wait … how could Caledonia continue to harvest stem cells after it was dissolved? Well, another company – Caledonia Consulting, Inc. – was formed by Goldfinch in October 2008.

Other incorporations may also exist.

“Due to the active status of this investigation, Dr. Dammai will refrain from making clarifications on this issue,” his website states in reference to Goldfinch’s company.

According to sources familiar with the federal probe, Dammai told investigators he was framed by Goldfinch – who along with his co-conspirators allegedly concocted an elaborate plot to profit from the illegal organ trade while pinning the blame for everything on the unsuspecting Indian-American.

“They convinced Dammai to help them develop super-advanced stem cell technology which was not to be sold to anyone and used for research purposes only,” one source tell us. “This doctor worked day and night to develop the technology, not knowing the dark side of Caledonia business. Eventually, Caledonia sold the stem cells and technologies developed by this doctor and made millions.”

Also mixed up in this scam? Francisco Morales of Brownsville, Texas – who was exposed in a recent 60 Minutes feature for his stem cell quackery – and David Steenblock, a dubious “doctor” whose lengthy record of medical misdeeds can be perused here.

Another alleged participant? Caledonia partner Yair Adereth – an Israeli national who is accused of forging medical documents in connection with the scam. These forgeries were allegedly used to secure MUSC’s participation in the testing of these illegally obtained organs.

“MUSC is required to check that the organs submitted to them for testing are obtained through legal process and also ensure that a licensed physician signs off on the required paperwork from Caledonia side for every organ submitted,” one of our sources explains. “They are supposed to check the credentials of all doctors and how the organs were obtained. Well, MUSC didn’t fulfill their legal responsibility.”

Not only that, the University has been accused of covering up the scandal after the fact.

According to our sources, the stem cells were obtained through two Conway, S.C. birthing clinics. More information on these facilities – and the structure of the stem cell operation – is said to be forthcoming.

So stay tuned …

UPDATES: Here and here.

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