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Henderson community rallies around convicted pediatrician

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 11/29/2012 6:45 am
HENDERSON (KSNV MyNews3) -- Support for convicted Henderson pediatrician Ralph Conti is strong -- so much so, that a Facebook page was set up to rally around him.

A federal court jury Wednesday found Conti and co-conspirator Alfred Sapse guilty of fraud.

Prosecutors said Conti and Sapse charged the seriously ill thousands of dollars for illegal and unproven stem cell treatments.

Among Conti’s supporters is Henderson dad Michael Spriggs. His son is a patient of Dr. Conti.

“Ralph is the kind of doctor that, in my opinion now, is just like a soldier or a fireman,” Spriggs said. “They'll run to the fire, not away from the fire to help people in there, even if it involves putting themselves out.”

That's how Conti's defense described the doctor -- a man motivated to help.

The prosecution, however, said Conti and Sapse took thousands of dollars from chronically ill patients in exchange for stem cell treatments they did not even know would work.

Sapse is a Romanian-educated physician with no medical license in the United States.

The prosecution said at least two patients got sick from the procedures.

They said Sapse and Conti continued to perform them, even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the two what they were doing was illegal.

“He absolutely said during the trial he believed in what he was doing clear to the end,” Spriggs said about Conti.

Conti's conviction is hard to conceive for Spriggs.

He remembers a time his son had a seizure and Dr. Conti met them in the emergency room at four in the morning.

“I don't know another physician who would do that,” said Spriggs.

Conti's dedication is something Spriggs said the Henderson community is sure to miss.

Sapse and Conti both face decades in prison as well as fines over hundreds of thousands of dollars. Both are set to be sentenced in February but will reportedly appeal their convictions.
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