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September 8 2004


Never trust a Nampan

Neuralyn is no more. The fraudulent medication peddled by Nampa-based "doctor" Thomas Vigil ended its seven-year rampage on August 24 when Vigil was sentenced to 51 months in prison and over $800,000 in reparations. The case has involved investigators from the FBI, Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Attorney's office for more than four years, initially culminating in Vigil's ex-wife Beverly being sentenced to 33 months in prison by a federal grand jury in 2002. Vigil had been a fugitive for almost two years before turning himself in at the United States border near San Diego last October.

According to an FDA investigator's report, the Vigils convinced over 100 people, mostly paraplegics or quadriplegics, to pay upwards of $10,000 each to visit the Alternative Medicine and Biophysics Research Institute in Nampa or similar clinics in Utah and Colorado from 1997 to 2000. Thomas Vigil, falsely portraying himself as a Harvard-trained physician, would then apply a mild topical anesthetic for a price of $300 to $500. While providing limited and temporary pain relief to victims, the treatment did not carry the 95 percent success rate the Vigils promised--it cost them around $15 per vial to procure. California pharmacist David Taylor, who made the Neuralyn (the Vigils' website claimed Thomas as the inventor) has already plead guilty to conspiracy to deliver a misbranded drug with intent to fraud, resulting in five years probation.

Thomas Vigil was given the maximum allowable sentence for his 28 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and misbranding drugs. In sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said in sentencing that it was the most egregious case of fraud he had seen in 17 years on the bench.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em. But if not...

In two unrelated but nearly identical events, a Kentucky sheriff and a Texas jailer were both accused of exchanging sexual favors with female prisoners for cigarettes. John Kyser, 59, of Crestwood, Kentucky was the first to transgress, swapping two smokes for oral sex in a holding cell on August 25. Kyser's job consisted of transporting inmates from the jail to the local courthouse, but his attempt to spice up the old routine has left him suspended without pay.

31-year-old Rookie jailer Larry Coles took matters to the next "base" when he removed an inmate from her Bandera County, Texas cell for a smoke break before, in the words of boss Sheriff James McMillan "[doing] some things he shouldn't have with her." When, on the following day, the inmate accused Coles of raping her, he asserted that the sex was consensual. He did not deny that it had been bandied for a butt. Coles plead guilty to charges on September 2 and will inhabit a cell of his own for the next 18 months.

The Porno Man Calleth

41-year-old Rhode Island rogue Kenneth Iasimone was arrested on August 30 and charged with making over 1800 obscene cell phone calls to local 911 operators. Dubbed "Porno Man" by the operators, Iasimone allegedly called from four to ten times a day, often with the audible sounds of porn films providing a soundtrack to his cooing conversations.

By using the Global Position System technology imbedded in Iasimone's prepaid cell phone, Rhode Island State Police were able to track him down to a suburb of Providence. He had purchased the cell phone under the name "Tony Soprano."