Carmichael Woman Arrested for Grand Theft and Embezzlement

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Marie Brown, of Carmichael, was arrested March 15, 2018, by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigation (DOI) – Sacramento Field Office.  Brown has been charged with three felonies including grand theft, embezzlement by a trustee and embezzlement or theft from an elder or dependent adult.

The arrest warrant was issued by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge.

Brown was investigated after DCA’s Board of Behavioral Sciences learned that she was acting as a therapist and working with vulnerable clients, including the elderly.  Investigators with DOI’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) learned that Brown was also allegedly advertising as a “psychotherapist” and a “MFCC” (marriage, family, and child counselor). Brown, who was formerly a marriage and family therapist intern, has not held any professional license since 2001.

In 2013, the board issued a $5,000 citation and Order of Abatement to Brown.  She was ordered to cease and desist from providing psychotherapeutic services without a license.

Following the Order of Abatement, Brown allegedly continued to provide therapy services to multiple individuals.  She also became the trustee of a special needs trust account whose beneficiaries were dependent adults.  Investigators served multiple search warrants and found that Brown had allegedly used thousands of dollars in funds from the trust to make personal purchases and billed the trust thousands of dollars for therapy services that she was not licensed to provide.

Brown is being prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Special Investigations and Public Integrity Unit.

Brown was arraigned on March 19, 2018.  She is scheduled to be back in court on May 22, 2018.


Fresno Area Doctor Charged in Illegal Botox Parties, Nurse Pleads No Contest

A Fresno physician accused of participating in illegal Botox parties was in court on March 20, 2018, and a registered nurse (RN) has pleaded no contest in the case.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office charged Dr. Robert Adams Graham with one felony count of aiding or abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine, while RN Rebekah Suzanne Demoss, of Kingsburg, recently pleaded no contest to dispensing and furnishing dangerous drugs and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
An investigation conducted by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation – Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) Central Valley Field Office determined that Graham teamed up with Demoss, who owned ZLB Rejuvenation on Draper Street in Kingsburg, and he allegedly allowed her to use his name to order prescription drugs.
Undercover operations found that Demoss traveled to homes and day spas to host Botox parties and spa nights. During these events, Demoss injected patients with Botox and Juvederm and offered to sell them Latisse.  These products are prescription medications and must be purchased by a physician. Patients must be examined by a physician or a nurse practitioner before receiving these drugs.
The investigation found that Graham did not perform any examinations of the patients that Demoss injected and he did not review any patient medical records related to the cosmetic treatments. Graham was also not aware of when, what or how much medication Demoss ordered, or where she ordered it.
If convicted, Graham faces a sentence of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 under Business and Professions Code 2052(a).
The Medical Board of California has filed an accusation against Graham, which can be read HERE.
The Board of Registered Nursing has filed an accusation against Demoss, which can be read HERE.

 


Illegal Buttocks Enhancement Procedure Lands Woman in Prison

 

A Monterey Park woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for injecting a woman with an unknown substance that was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.

Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez, 47, who is not a physician and did not have any professional licenses in the U.S., was sentenced by a federal judge on March 5, 2018, after pleading guilty to one count of receiving and administering an adulterated and misbranded liquid substance and admitting that she injected the liquid substance into the victim during a body contouring procedure that included buttocks enhancement. As part of the plea agreement, Diaz Hernandez will also pay a $95,000 fine and $30,000 restitution to her victim.

The conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations, and Operation Safe Medicine, part of the Health Quality Investigation Unit (HQIU) within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation.

In December 2016, the Medical Board of California received a complaint alleging that Diaz Hernandez had injected a victim with an unknown substance during an enhancement procedure.  HQIU investigators learned the procedure involved a series of treatments at Diaz Hernandez’s home.  During the contouring process, Diaz Hernandez claimed to be a doctor and mislead the victim about the safety of the injections.

Following the procedure, the unknown substance migrated into the victim’s back, hips and legs and she underwent surgery to remove the foreign substance from her body. She was eventually hospitalized due to infections and complications from the procedure and received skin grafts to repair the damage.

HQIU investigators alerted the FDA and HQIU and FDA investigators teamed up to inspect trash from Diaz Hernandez’s home, where they found bottles of Spanish-labeled medical products and empty syringe packaging. Investigators then conducted surveillance on Diaz Hernandez’s home and served a search warrant.

Drugs and medical devices are considered adulterated when they are used for a purpose other than the use they have been approved or cleared for marketing by the FDA. Drugs and medical devices are considered misbranded when their labeling does not have adequate directions and warnings for use under U.S. law or when prescription drugs are dispensed without a written or oral prescription by a licensed medical practitioner.

Diaz Hernandez was arrested in June 2017 and reached a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office in July 2017.

The United States Attorney’s Office news releases can be read HERE.

 


Former Granite Bay Physician Sentenced on Federal Drug Charges

Former Granite Bay physician Nicholas J. Capos Jr. was sentenced last week by a federal judge to 52 months in prison for selling controlled substance prescriptions and will forfeit $90,000 earned from his illicit activities. Capos had already surrendered his medical license in 2016.

In May 2016, Capos pleaded guilty to five counts of illegal distribution and dispensation of oxycodone. In his plea agreement, Capos admitted to intentionally prescribing controlled substances outside of the usual course of medical practice and without legitimate medical purpose. He also admitted that he accepted payments on a per-prescription basis and that he would write prescriptions based on patients’ requests.

The sentence and license surrender were the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Health Quality Investigation Unit – Sacramento Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (formerly the Sacramento District Office of the Medical Board of California), the California Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The investigation was initiated by the Medical Board in August 2010. In 2012, Medical Board investigators conducted multiple undercover appointments with Capos. That same year, Medical Board investigators teamed up with the DEA and DOJ and served search warrants on Capos’ home in Granite Bay and his businesses in Yuba City and Grass Valley.

The investigation focused on prescriptions written by Capos between 2008 and 2012. Investigators reviewed prescriptions from over 70 pharmacies and numerous patient records. Pharmacy records showed that Capos prescribed 2,640 hydrocodone pills to one patient over a 28-day period. He also prescribed 2,100 oxycodone pills to another patient over a 50-day period.

During the undercover appointments, investigators learned that Capos charged patients a “DEA Fee” of $100 per prescription.  The undercover investigator was able to request prescriptions from Capos for Vicodin, Ambien, Percocet, oxycodone, and promethazine with codeine.  At one point, Capos warned the undercover investigator to “stay under the radar.”

In 2013, the Medical Board filed an accusation against Capos, alleging 39 instances of gross negligence, prescribing without an appropriate prior examination, excessive prescribing, inaccurate medical records and repeated negligence in his care of 10 patients and an undercover Medical Board investigator.

The Medical Board Accusation can be viewed here.

The United States Attorney’s Office press release can be read here.


Investigation Uncovers Unlicensed Individuals Operating a Medical Spa

Orange County pair posed as Registered Nurses and offered laser treatments

Snezhana Semenov, of Dana Point, and Matthew Tinnes, of Laguna Niguel, will appear in Orange County Superior Court on December 13, 2017, in an ongoing case where they face felony charges of receiving stolen property and practicing medicine without a license.

Investigators from Operation Safe Medicine in the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit, worked with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department after a medical device was stolen from another medical spa and traced to New Way Beauty in Laguna Niguel.

Semenov owned and operated New Way Beauty in Laguna Niguel, where Tinnes was employed.

Investigators conducted undercover operations and found that Semenov and Tinnes allegedly represented themselves as Registered Nurses and offered to perform laser treatments for hair removal and melasma, a skin discoloration.

Neither Semenov nor Tinnes have professional health care licenses.  Semenov and Tinnes were arrested in May and the charges were filed in July.  Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.  Their preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin in January 2018.


Now Playing: The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (D.O.I) Video

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigation (DOI) serves as the law enforcement arm of DCA.

DOI protects California consumers and licensees by investigating violations of California’s law, regulations and professional standards.

Established in 1961, DOI provides law enforcement investigative services that focus on consumer protection for the boards, bureaus, programs, committees, and commissions within DCA.  

DOI is unique from other law enforcement units because of the type of work assigned and how that work is executed.  Additionally, DOI appreciates what is most important to their employees and promotes a healthy work-life balance that does not include rotating assignments and rarely includes evenings or weekends.

Additional advantages of becoming a DOI investigator include:

  • A state vehicle for on-duty use
  • Specialized training and assignments
  • Peace officer safety retirement and access to 401(k) and 457 retirement plans
  • A competitive salary and longevity pay
  • Paid holidays, vacation and sick leave
  • Education incentive and career advancement
  • Comprehensive benefits

DOI is actively recruiting for positions throughout the state.

For individuals at the beginning or middle portion of the career ladder, including those considering a second career, DOI may be the right fit for you.

To learn more about DOI, watch the following video or visit their blog site at dca-division-of-investigation.blog.

 

 


Nurse Practitioner Arrested for Illegally Issuing Prescriptions

Jasmine Hill, of Bakersfield, was arrested and charged with nine felonies and one misdemeanor after it was discovered that she allegedly wrote prescriptions for herself for controlled substances.

Kern County Superior Court issued an arrest warrant and Hill was taken into custody on Oct. 6, 2017, by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) with assistance from the Bakersfield Police Department.

Click HERE to view the full news release.


Physical Therapist and Son Charged with Insurance Fraud

San Francisco Bay Area pair also charged with grand theft and practicing medicine without a license

A licensed physical therapist and her son, who holds no license, have been charged with felonies after allegedly receiving $4.5 million from insurance companies for false claims.

Paula Skinner, of Glen Ellen, and her son Matthew Skinner, of Pleasanton, have each been charged with 34 felony counts related to crimes that allegedly occurred at their South San Francisco businesses, Pacific Occupational Health Clinic and Action Therapeutics.

The pair will appear in San Mateo County Superior Court on September 29, 2017, to set a date for their upcoming preliminary hearing.

The Skinners have each been charged with 10 counts of preparing and filing false insurance claims, 10 counts of conspiring to make fraudulent insurance claims, 10 counts of grand theft, and four counts of practicing medicine without a license. Most of the charges include enhancements because the crimes were aggravated white collar crimes with excessive losses.

The criminal complaint filed by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office alleges that between 2010 and 2017 the Skinners committed crimes against Liberty Mutual, Traveler’s Insurance, Hartford Insurance, State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) and Intercare Insurance.

Since their arrests, more insurance carriers have come forward to report additional losses. It is alleged that the Skinners billed over $15 million and received payments of over $4.5 million.

The investigation found that the Skinners co-owned and operated Pacific Occupational Health Clinic as a medical corporation. Medical corporations must be majority-owned by physicians and laypersons cannot have any ownership.

The Skinners allegedly hired physicians to act as the medical directors of Pacific Occupational Health Clinic, but the Skinners continued to run the business, including hiring and firing the medical staff and making medical decisions for patients. Pacific Occupational Health Clinic specialized in treating injured workers and billing worker’s compensation health plans.

The Skinners also allegedly referred patients to their other business, Action Therapeutics, for unnecessary physical therapy and chiropractic care.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), and the FBI.  Investigators from DOI’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit, DOI’s Enforcement Support Unit, DOI’s Health Quality Investigation Unit and Operation Safe Medicine worked with San Mateo County District Attorney inspectors over the course of several months.

Paula Skinner’s physical therapy license is currently inactive. The Physical Therapy Board of California is reviewing the case and will take disciplinary action against her license as appropriate.

Any insurance company that believes it was a victim of the Skinners is asked to contact San Mateo County District Attorney Inspector Steve Sysum at (650) 877-5446.

 



Clovis Vocational Nurse Arrested and Charged with Theft from an Elder Adult

Licensed vocational nurse Michael Anthony Larkins, of Clovis, was arrested June 9, 2017, on one felony charge of theft from an elder adult.

Larkins’ alleged crime was discovered when a credit card company reported suspicious credit card activity to the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigation (DOI).

Investigators from the Division’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit, Central Valley Field Office, learned that Larkins used a credit card belonging to a 92 year old patient who lived at the acute care center where Larkins worked.

Larkins is believed to have used the credit card to withdraw money from ATMs 11 times over a six day period in October 2016 and to make online purchases four times in the following two weeks, resulting in over $3,000 of fraudulent charges.

DOI investigators obtained surveillance video showing Larkins using some of the ATMs where the money was withdrawn.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office charged Larkin with one felony charge of theft from an elder adult.

DOI investigators booked Larkins into Fresno County Jail without incident and he was arraigned on June 23, 2017, when he pleaded not guilty to the charge.  His next court date is scheduled for July 28, 2017.

The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians have completed a review of the case and are pursuing disciplinary action against Larkins’ license.