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Doc in UCI fertility scandal caught in Mexico

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

December 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
An effort is under way to extradite a fugitive doctor at the center of a University of California-Irvine fertility scandal.Mexican authorities arrested Ricardo Asch in Mexico City in November.

It was 15 years ago that officials charged Asch and another doctor, Jose Balmaceda, with stealing the eggs and embryos of dozens of women being treated at the UC Irvine Center for Reproductive Health.

The two doctors were also accused of altering accounting records to steal more than $1 million.

Both doctors fled the United States in 1996 following their indictments.

American officials have until Jan. 3 to complete the extradition paperwork and will send it to the State Department this week.

In September 2009, the university settled dozens of civil lawsuits over the fertility scandal, paying more than $24 million for 137 incidents.

Sergio Stone, another physician involved in the scandal, was not accused of egg thefts but was convicted in 1997 of fraudulently billing insurance companies. He was fined $50,000 and ordered to serve a year of home detention.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.