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Orange County Bar Association

Wanted Fugitive Responsible for UCI Fertility Scandal Arrested in Mexico City

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

It was 15 years ago that Orange County was rocked with a scandal that only Hollywood could have created. Dr. Richard Asch was one of two physicians responsible for the switching of frozen embryos for over a dozen unsuspecting woman; Dr. Asch is now being held in a Mexico City by authorities, while US prosecutors are awaiting to extradite him to Southern California to face federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges. Federal Mail Fraud is covered under Title 18 of the United States Code, Chapter 63, and is typically filed in conjunction with another violation.

It is not clear how authorities caught up with the wanted fugitive, but it is known that Dr. Asch and his partner, Dr. Jose Balmaceda, brought ceaseless controversy to the UC Irvine Center for Reproductive Health; UC Irvine has paid out more than $27 million to settle at least 140 lawsuits filed as a result of the fertility clinic scandal. A federal judge in Argentina allegedly tried Asch on similar fraud charges, on which Asch was acquitted. His Attorney argues that to face the same charge in the US would constitute “double jeopardy,” a procedural defense that forbids a defendant from being tried on the same charge. In many countries the protection against double jeopardy is a constitutional right, including Mexico and the United States.

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