Dana Point Woman Accused of Practicing Veterinary Medicine Without a License

A Dana Point woman has been charged with six misdemeanor counts related to her operation of an unlicensed veterinary medical practice

Gabriele Gross, operator of Eqoulution, LLC in Ladera Ranch, has been charged with three counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and three counts of giving false or misleading advertising statements.

The charges against Gross stem from an investigation conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), on behalf of the Veterinary Medical Board. DOI’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit San Diego Field Office. Investigators learned during the investigation that Gross was allegedly referring to herself as a doctor, veterinarian, and DVM – or doctor of veterinary medicine – in advertisements and contacts with the public. She also allegedly ran an illegal practice where she examined and treated horses with Cushing’s disease.

During an undercover operation, Gross allegedly examined a horse with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and prescribed treatment that included stopping a medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Gross is scheduled to appear in Orange County Superior Court on June 8, 2018.


Registered Nurse Sentenced to Five Years in State Prison

Kelseyville woman plead no contest to three felonies


Registered nurse (RN) Athina Cook, of Kelseyville, appeared in Lake County Superior Court on May 21, 2018 and was sentenced to five years and four months in state prison. In March, she pleaded no contest to two felony counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and one felony count of causing injury while driving under the influence.

Cook was investigated by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), Investigation and Enforcement Unit-Sacramento Field Office.

DOI investigators found that while Cook was working as an RN at a hospital in Clearlake in November 2015, she diverted controlled substances, including dilaudid and morphine, which were purportedly for her patients. Cook was sentenced to 16 months in prison for obtaining the controlled substances by fraud.

In a separate investigation conducted by the Lakeport Police Department, Cook was found to have caused a non-fatal, head-on collision while she was driving under the influence and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Cook has been prohibited from practicing as a registered nurse since April 2017 due to her ongoing criminal prosecution.

The California Board of Registered Nursing will review her case and take disciplinary action as appropriate.

The order restricting Cook’s RN license can be read here.

Osteopathic Medical Doctor Charged in Prescription Fraud Case

A San Diego doctor stands accused of 11 felony charges for allegedly prescribing controlled substances for his own use.

Dr. Robert Scott Klein is scheduled to appear in San Diego Superior Court on June 8, 2018. Klein has been charged with two counts of identity theft, one count of insurance fraud and eight counts of prescription forgery.

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation – Investigation and Enforcement Unit San Diego Field Office, investigated Klein at the request of the Osteopathic Medical Board.

Investigators found that in August and October 2016, Klein allegedly obtained prescriptions for Ambien using a patient’s identity and insurance information. The prescriptions were fraudulently called-in to a pharmacy using another medical provider’s name. Further investigation found that in June and August 2016, Klein allegedly obtained prescriptions for Ambien using a family member’s identity and insurance information, by calling-in a prescription using a second medical provider’s name. Additionally, from 2014 to 2016, Klein allegedly used his own name to prescribe prescriptions for Ambien, Ativan, Restoril, and Soma in the names of his family member and a neighbor. None of these individuals received the medications.

On behalf of the Osteopathic Medical Board, the Attorney General’s Office will be requesting an Interim Suspension Order to limit Klein’s ability to practice as an Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon.


Man was also charged with sexual battery against patients

A former psychiatrist was recently charged by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office with felony sexual exploitation and misdemeanor sexual battery, following an investigation into reports of sexual misconduct.

Leon Fajerman of El Cajon, practiced out of offices in San Diego, El Cajon, Chula Vista, and San Ysidro. Between 2016 and 2017, Fajerman is alleged to have engaged in sexual acts with seven patients, resulting in a felony sexual exploitation charge, and to have committed sexual battery against four patients and a patient’s mother, resulting in eight misdemeanor sexual battery charges.

Fajerman surrendered his license to practice medicine to the Medical Board of California on May 15, 2018, following an investigation conducted by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), Health Quality Investigation Unit-San Diego Field Office with assistance from the Chula Vista Police and San Diego Police departments.

DOI investigators arrested Fajerman on May 24, 2018, with assistance from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Fajerman was released from custody on May 25, 2018.

Documents related to the surrender of Fajerman’s license can be read here.

The news release issued by the Medical Board can be read here.

Orangevale Woman Facing Grand Theft Charge for Unlicensed Work as a Speech-Language Pathologist

Former speech-language pathologist Sandra Abolins Starch, of Orangevale, was in Sacramento Superior Court on May 23, 2018, facing a felony charge of grand theft. Starch was arrested in January.

The charge stems from an investigation conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigation (DOI) – Sacramento Field Office. DOI investigated Starch in 2017 after her employer conducted an online license verification and found that her speech-language pathologist license had been revoked since November 2014. The employer contacted the California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board to verify whether the renewed license Starch had provided to them was fake. The board then alerted DOI to the potential fraud.

DOI investigators found that Starch allegedly continued to work as a full-time speech-language pathologist at a rehabilitation facility in Elk Grove following the revocation of her license. Payroll records showed that from January 2015 to January 2016, Starch earned over $88,000 from her alleged fraud.

Starch is being prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit.  Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 17, 2018.


Case Update: Chiropractor Sentenced After Claiming to be a Physician

Chiropractor James Joseph Martin of West Sacramento appeared in Sacramento Superior Court on May 29, 2018, and was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation. In February, he pleaded no contest to three felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, four felony counts of grand theft, and two misdemeanor counts of using the titles “Dr.” and “physician.”

As part of his sentencing, Martin was ordered not to portray himself as someone who practices functional or pastoral medicine and he was ordered to surrender his chiropractic license. The Board of Chiropractic Examiners will work with the California Attorney General’s Office to process the surrender of Martin’s license. Martin was also ordered to pay $67,934 in restitution to his victims.

Martin operated a business called “Dr. James Martin, D.PSc.” and appeared on Sacramento morning news shows telling patients that he was a “thyroid and diabetic specialist” and that he practiced “functional neurology and metabolic medicine.” The designation “D.PSc.” is not a legal term for a licensed doctor of chiropractic or medical doctor, but stands for “doctor of pastoral science,” a designation issued by the Pastoral Medical Association of Texas, which claims to license “spiritually minded health professionals.”

Many of Martin’s patients thought he was a medical doctor and some of them paid thousands of dollars for his treatments. Martin used titles such as “Head Physician” and “Lic. MD (P)” to misrepresent himself as a physician. At the sentencing, five of Martin’s victims made statements to the court.

The Medical Board of California and Board of Chiropractic Examiners requested an investigation of Martin after receiving a consumer complaint alleging that he was practicing medicine without a license. During the investigation, additional patient complaints about Martin were submitted to the boards and to the Better Business Bureau.

Martin was originally charged with eight felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of practicing medicine without a license. The charges were later amended to include 45 felonies and 13 misdemeanors.

The case was investigated by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit – Sacramento Field Office and prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. Martin was taken into custody and is currently at the Sacramento County Jail.


Read the original story here.

Read the district attorney’s press release here.

Former Engineer Pleads to Felony for Filing False Documents

Former engineer Adebowale Sodipo pleaded no contest in April to one charge of filing false documents with a public office. Sodipo initially faced four felony counts and his trial had been set to begin on May 21, 2018, in San Mateo County Superior Court. Sodipo owned Carona Engineers in San Ramon.

Department of Consumer Affairs’ Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) led an investigation into Sodipo on behalf of the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists after he was alleged to have continued working as a civil and structural engineer during time periods that his licenses were not valid due to nonpayment of the renewal fees.

The investigation by IEU’s Hayward Field Office found that from June 2013 to February 2015 and from June 2015 to December 2015, Sodipo’s civil and structural engineer licenses were expired for nonpayment of state licensing renewal fees. During those time periods, Sodipo allegedly submitted one set of building plans to the City of South San Francisco and three sets of plans to the City of Belmont, which all included engineering stamps that had been altered to indicate that his licenses had been renewed.

Sodipo’s civil and structural engineer licenses were revoked effective April 11, 2018. The Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists filed accusations against Sodipo alleging breach of contract and practicing engineering without authorization in relation to the events in South San Francisco and Belmont, as well as for breach of contract in relation to the events in Hayward, San Pablo and Oakland.

The investigation also found that Sodipo had accepted money and entered into contracts on three other engineering projects in Hayward, San Pablo and Oakland, but failed to complete the projects or to produce usable drawings.

The revocation order and accusation can be read here: http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/public/s–3860_dec1147.pdf

Chico Registered Nurse Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Registered nurse Allison Joann Guster, of Chico, was sentenced last week to two years in state prison after pleading no contest to one felony count of causing abuse likely to result in the death of an elderly patient.

Guster was ordered to turn herself into the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on May 14, 2018, and was also ordered to pay over $11,000 in restitution to the victim’s family. Her license to practice as a registered nurse had been restricted by the California Board of Registered Nursing during the duration of her criminal case.

Guster was a night-shift nurse, assigned to care for a patient recovering from surgery. After the patient was found dead in her room early the next morning, Guster made false entries in the patient’s medical record to indicate that she had been monitoring the patient throughout the night. Video surveillance showed that Guster had not been in the patient’s room for over six hours.

The case was investigated by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Sacramento Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation and prosecuted by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.

In 2017, the Board of Registered Nursing obtained a court order forbidding Guster from practicing any duties of a registered nurse and will now review the case to determine appropriate disciplinary action against her license.

Click HERE to view the original blog post.

Click  HERE to view the court order prohibiting practice as a registered nurse.