Second Jersey Scammer Who Claimed To Cure Lou Gehrig's Disease Imprisoned

On December 12th, the U.S. District Court of New Jersey sentenced Elizabeth Lerner, a.k.a. Elizabeth Cooperman, to 33 months in prison for “falsely claiming that she could cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly called ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease.'” Her crime partner, former osteopath Charlene C. DeMarco, was sentenced to 57 months back in September.

The two women claimed “they could treat ALS patients with stem cell therapy, even though they knew they could not. The defendants falsely told their patients and their families that DeMarco had previously received FDA approval to treat ALS.”

“FDA Investigation Leads to Prison Sentence for Woman Who Claimed to Cure ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease'” [FDA]
(Photo: Getty)


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  1. snoop-blog says:

    terrible. those women deserve to rot in jail.

  2. DrGirlfriend says:

    As the granddaughter of an ALS patient, I wish their sentences had been much, much longer. That kind of deception is inhumane.

  3. SJActress says:

    My ex-boyfriend’s cousin has ALS…these people should go to jail FOREVER for what they did.

  4. edrebber says:

    @SJActress: The jails are overflowing with violent criminals. I would rather use the prison space to incarcerate murderers or child molesters.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    People like that should be infected with the disease they’re claiming to be able to cure. Then let them treat themselves to demonstrate to the world just how effective the “cure” really is.

  6. TWSS says:

    Yeah, my dad died of ALS in February. But not before spending tens of thousands of dollars to visit this place [] for “fresh cell therapy”. IIRC, they inject you with sheep stem cells and you have to “rest” (i.e., give them more money to spend at least two more days at their facility) for the therapy to take effect.

    They don’t explicitly claim to cure ALS, but they market that particular therapy as a treatment for MS.

  7. FessLove says:

    Great to see good news on Consumerist for a change

  8. SJActress says:


    I guess no one’s ever deceived you with this kind of false hope then, huh?

    You’re right. Prisons ARE overcrowded. Mostly with VICTIMLESS crimes, like getting high. Perhaps, if we allowed people to destroy their own bodies we’d have room in prisons for people who hurt OTHER people.

  9. SJActress says:


    They committed FRAUD. FRAUD hurts other people. Smoking weed does not. Perhaps we could find room for your child molesters if we’d let some dopeheads free.

  10. huadpe says:

    @edrebber: The jails are not overflowing with violent criminals. They are overflowing with nonviolent criminals, mostly on drug offenses. According to some admittedly older statistics, 52% of state prison inmates (where these people are going) are in for nonviolent crimes. There just aren’t that many murderers or child molesters.


  11. sporks says:

    So you LIKE having people on the streets continuing to commit acts of fraud to people looking for a little more fight against this (mind you, incurable and 100% fatal) disease? I’d rather the victimless offenders (ie the pot smokers) be out and keep these people in for a very long time.

    I didn’t realize there were so many others that have had family members die of ALS here. My uncle might have fallen for something like this when he was diagnosed (in October) because people are always looking for some hope. People like these scammers make me sick.

  12. TWSS says:

    @sporks: ALS is a lot more common than you’d think. Unlike many diseases, there are vanishingly few long-term survivors. About 5,000 are diagnosed each year, and most of those die within 3 to 5 years. With survivability that low, there’s less visibility of the disease.

  13. Bunnymuffin says:

    @SJActress: In June of this year I counted 1700 open and active dependency cases directly related to Meth use in my county. Getting high isn’t as victimless as people might want to believe.

  14. bombaxstar says:

    fuck those people.

  15. reykjavik says:

    @huadpe: Are you kidding me?

    Do you realize how many people are killed each year around the world directly because of the illegal drug trade? Just because what you’re doing doesn’t kill the person standing right next to you, doesn’t mean its a victimless crime.

    Furthermore, many laws are passed to protect the criminal themselves. How many overdoses are there each year that result in death, or DUIs that lead to death of the person using the illegal substance? They are still victims of their addiction. If you legalized weed and controlled its growth then you’d have something, but just saying that drug offense immediately means there is no victim is an extremely ignorant thing to say. From the thousands murdered in Medallin to the innocent children gunned down in Brownsville; to say there are no victims directly or indirectly is a major insult.

  16. coren says:

    @reykjavik: And if we weren’t making it so lucrative for drug dealers in this country, if we say, legalized it, the market would be regulated and they wouldn’t be smuggling stuff in and killing over it. At least not OUR drugs.