Feds accuse Indianapolis man of running cancer research scam

Timothy Cook declines to answer questions

INDIANAPOLIS - The owner of an Indianapolis biomedical research firm, who is accused of scamming investors and at least one cancer patient, reversed his car 140 yards down a curvy driveway to dodge a Call 6 Investigators camera crew.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit accusing XYTOS and its CEO Timothy E. Cook of ripping off investors with a company that exists only on paper and has performed no actual cancer research.

"Of course not," Timothy Cook answered when asked last week if he would comment on the allegations against him.

Cook then quickly closed his car door as a Call 6 Investigators crew turned the camera his direction. He then reversed his car approximately 140 yards down a curvy driveway off West 96th Street, where he has been living.

The SEC's lawsuit accuses Cook of using investors' money to pay his own expenses, including bank withdrawals of $30,000 and a $2,000 Florida vacation.

The SEC also accuses him of using the funds to make personal purchases at GameStop and a Reebok store, to purchase tickets to Cirque Du Soleil, to pay for $2,000 in gas and auto repair, and for $1,800 spent at supermarkets and drug stores.

He is also accused of withdrawing more than $15,000 of investors' money from ATMs.

"Cook did not tell those investors he was using their money for personal expenses," the SEC wrote in its federal lawsuit.

During earlier proceedings, the SEC said Cook was asked about his personal expenditures with his investors' money, and he is quoted in court documents as saying it was because, "I'm a part of Xytos."

The website for his company, Xytos.com, was still online last week, but was no longer active on Monday.

The SEC said Cook offered shares of his company to investors on the open market, including one investor with inoperable pancreatic cancer.   

Securities regulators wrote in court filings that the cancer patient felt like Xytos was performing research that may actually help him survive his condition.

Trading was suspended by the SEC in March, after Cook was accused of registering to sell additional shares of his company on web trading forums used directly by consumers.

The government's lawsuit accuses Cook of coaxing investors by displaying photos of research facilities and treatment rooms, but the SEC writes they were all made up. 

"The website photos and their descriptions have created the false impression that Xytos treats patients at its own treatment center in Indianapolis," the SEC wrote in its lawsuit.

Cook is also accused of writing press releases and posting information that his company had retained a chief medical officer to serve on its "medical and scientific advisory board," when the doctor actually has never worked for Xytos in any capacity.

When approached last week at his home off West 96th Street, Cook took a reporter's business card and said his lawyer would be providing information. No message was ever received from Cook or any lawyer on his behalf.

He was asked about the allegations of his company existing only on paper and scamming investors, which included a cancer patient, but he declined to comment.

Finally, the SEC lawsuit said the Xytos website listed a corporate director with "extensive experience in debt and equity financing for public and private companies," but the agency says that person had been dead for at least five years.

Cook denied the charges in an interview with the Indianapolis Business Journal .   

He blamed the federal lawsuit on his company being in a transitional stage while shifting its work overseas, where he said his company has treated numerous patients.

No court hearings are presently scheduled in the SEC's lawsuit against Xytos.

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