Fertility Clinic Doctor’s Trial Is Postponed

<i> From a Times Staff Writer</i>

The federal trial of fertility clinic operator Dr. Sergio C. Stone, which was scheduled to start Tuesday, will now probably begin this summer, according to attorneys involved in the case.

The postponement came at a pretrial hearing Monday after federal prosecutors sought deletions from the 35-count mail fraud indictment against Stone, the first of UC Irvine’s fertility clinic doctors to stand trial.

Stone and his two medical partners--Drs. Ricardo H. Asch and Jose P. Balmaceda--each were indicted last year on 35 counts of mail fraud for allegedly falsely billing insurance companies through the mail. The doctors, who have denied any wrongdoing, also face accusations from UC Irvine officials that they stole human eggs and embryos from scores of women and implanted them in others.

According to Stone’s defense attorney John D. Barnett, it is common practice for doctors to bill for the services of residents even if the supervising doctor is not present.


Another hearing is scheduled for May 16, when U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor will set a new trial date.