A New Jersey doctor's assistant has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for defrauding patients by falsely claiming she could cure them of Lou Gehrig's disease.

The federal Food and Drug Administration, which led the investigation of Elizabeth Lerner, announced the sentence yesterday in Camden.

Lerner and a former doctor, Charlene DeMarco, were convicted in 2006 of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering charges for persuading families of two patients in Louisiana to pay $40,000 for a cure.

There is no known cure for Lou Gehrig's disease - or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. *

- Associated Press