Los Angeles Area Licensed Vocational Nurse Charged with Felony Grand Theft

On May 1, 2017, investigators with the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation obtained an arrest warrant for licensed vocational nurse Josell McNeil-Dawkins.

McNeil-Dawkins was charged with one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement.

McNeil-Dawkins was investigated by the Division of Investigations’ Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Chatsworth Field Office after she was terminated by her employer, a home health agency.

From December 2015 to February 2016, McNeil-Dawkins was paid to provide in-home patient care for an infant.  McNeil-Dawkins failed to provide the care and instead falsified records in order to obtain payments for services she had never provided.

McNeil-Dawkins turned herself into the Los Angeles County Court on May 5 and pleaded not guilty to the charge.  She appeared in court on May 18 and her next court appearance is scheduled for July 6, 2017 at 8:30am.

The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians is reviewing the case and will take disciplinary action against McNeil-Dawkins’ license as appropriate.


Vocational Nurse Faces Discipline Following Conviction

Trista Sos, a licensed vocational nurse from Redding, faces disciplinary action by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians after she pleaded no contest and was found guilty of one misdemeanor count of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and one misdemeanor count of petty theft.

Investigators from the Investigation and Enforcement Unit Sacramento Field Office within the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation investigated Sos after receiving information that she had been stealing narcotics from a convalescent home in Chico where she worked.

The investigation found that in May 2015, Sos received narcotics from staff who had worked the shift prior to hers, but at the end of her shift the narcotics were missing. The Butte County District Attorney’s Office initially charged Sos with three counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and one count of petty theft.

The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians has filed an accusation against Sos, alleging that she made false, incorrect, inconsistent or unintelligible entries in hospital records during her employment in Chico and also at a second employer in Red Bluff in October 2015.  The accusation also alleges that Sos self-administered marijuana without a physician’s recommendation from approximately 2014 to 2016.

The Accusation can be read here: Sos Accusation


Investigation Uncovers Unlicensed Physicians Operating Medical Clinic

Man and woman treated patients at a Los Angeles urgent care facility.

Charges were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last month against two unlicensed people accused of diagnosing and treating patients at an urgent care clinic in Los Angeles.

Betzabe Wintermute and Chendri (no first name) have each been charged with three felony counts of practicing medicine without a license following an undercover investigation. The investigation revealed the two had been treating patients and prescribing medications at WR Balboa Urgent Care, 937 South Alvarado St., #1D in Los Angeles, even though neither has any professional health care licenses.

Investigators from Operation Safe Medicine, in the Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit, worked with the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT), within the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough investigation. HALT Investigators conducted undercover investigations that found both Wintermute and Chendri were diagnosing and treating patients. Chendri also prescribed medications to the undercover operatives.  Investigators from Operation Safe Medicine then assisted HALT Investigators in serving a search warrant at the business.

The investigation also showed that Wintermute, who owned WR Balboa Urgent Care, would hire licensed physicians on a temporary basis in order to obtain their medical license numbers and DEA numbers.  She would allegedly use that information to bill insurance companies and prescribe medications to patients without the physicians’ knowledge.

Investigators found that neither Chendri or Wintermute has ever held a professional license in California.   Wintermute was issued a six-month Interim Permit by the Board of Registered Nursing, but it expired in 2007, and she never obtained a license.

Wintermute has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court on May 19, 2017.  An arrest warrant has been issued for Chendri, but he is believed to be out of the country.


Health Center Owner Convicted of Aiding the Unlicensed Practice of Medicine

Physician Michael Zadeh of Encino pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine following his arrest in February. One of Zadeh’s employees, Siranush Mkrtchyan, also pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of practicing medicine without a license.

Recently, two more of Zadeh’s employees entered pleas with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Rebecca Merzlak and Lyndi Loomis each pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of practicing medicine without a license. A fourth employee, Amanda Farrar, has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of practicing medicine without a license. Her next court date is scheduled for October 4, 2017.

Zadeh is the owner of Z Center for Cosmetic Health in Sherman Oaks. The center was investigated by Operation Safe Medicine, a specialized unit within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation Health Quality Investigation Unit after receipt of an anonymous complaint about the business.

Undercover investigators made appointments at the center and scheduled treatments that required examination by a doctor or nurse practitioner. One investigator was scheduled for laser hair removal without having been properly examined, while a second investigator was diagnosed with a skin condition and was prescribed a bleaching ointment without having received a proper examination.

Merzlak is a licensed esthetician and Farrar is a registered nurse. Mkrtchyan and Loomis were both unlicensed.

The Board of Registered Nursing, the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the Medical Board of California will take action, as appropriate, against Farrar, Merzlak and Zadeh, respectively.

 

 

 

 


Rohnert Park Vocational Nurse Arrested on Felony Prescription Drug Charges

Jennifer Renee Carter, of Rohnert Park, a licensed Vocational Nurse, was arrested on April 13, 2017, on two felony charges of prescription forgery and obtaining a prescription by fraud.

Investigators from the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU), Sacramento Field Office, obtained an arrest warrant for Carter on April 6th after IEU’s investigation found that she had stolen prescription forms from her employer, a Santa Rosa area hospital, and had written two oxycodone prescriptions for herself.

Carter’s alleged crimes were discovered when employees of a Walgreens pharmacy contacted the hospital to verify the authenticity of the prescriptions.  The physician whose signature was forged on the prescriptions was unaware of Carter’s actions.

Carter was booked into Lake County Jail without incident and has since been released on bond.  Her arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 12, 2017 at 8:00am.

The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians is reviewing the case and will take disciplinary action against Carter’s license as appropriate.


Man Posing as a Nurse Practitioner Charged with Identity Theft

Former Bay Area resident was also charged with practicing medicine without a license.

Chad Brian Litz, a former San Francisco resident, has pled not guilty to four felony charges for practicing medicine without a license and one felony count of identity theft.

Litz was recently arrested in Florida, extradited to California and was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on March 30, 2017.

The Investigation and Enforcement Unit Hayward Field Office of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation served numerous search warrants during the investigation of Litz.

These warrants led to evidence indicating that he used forged documents from the state of Georgia and from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, which he allegedly used to obtain a volunteer nurse practitioner position at a Bay Area medical clinic.

Posing as a nurse practicioner, Litz allegedly treated patients, wrote prescriptions and dispensed narcotics to patients between January and April 2014. Litz was investigated following receipt of a complaint from employees at the clinic where he worked.

Litz’s preliminary hearing is set for April 11, 2017 in Department 20 of the San Francisco Superior Court. The case is being prosecuted by the San Francisco County District Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecution Unit.

 


Unlicensed Man Convicted of Acting as an Acupuncturist

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On January 5, 2017, Stephen Rainbolt, owner of the Alphabiotic Center of San Diego, pleaded guilty and was convicted of one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of the title “acupuncturist” and sentenced to three years of probation.  Rainbolt had been scheduled to go to a jury trial on January 26 to face charges of offering to practice acupuncture without a license, unlawful use of the title “acupuncturist,” and false or misleading advertising, all misdemeanors.

The San Diego City Attorney’s Office filed the charges against Rainbolt after an undercover operation found that Rainbolt, a former acupuncturist whose license expired in 2014, had continued to offer acupuncture treatments at his San Diego home.  Rainbolt offered to perform acupuncture on an undercover investigator.

The investigation of Rainbolt was conducted by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit-San Diego Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) after the California Acupuncture Board received complaints about Rainbolt’s practice.

 

 

 


Chiropractor Arrested for Unlicensed Practice of Medicine

Northern California woman used the designation of “D. PSc.” in her advertisements

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A Northern California chiropractor was arrested January 16, 2017, and charged with practicing medicine without a license.

Diem Thi Nguyen, of El Dorado Hills, is licensed by the State of California as a chiropractor and is not licensed as a medical doctor.  Nguyen advertised in a Sacramento newspaper that she could treat thyroid problems and diabetes and advertised neurological testing of patients.

Nguyen used the designation of “D. PSc.” in her advertisements.  “D.PSc.” is an acronym for Doctor of Pastoral Science, which the Pastoral Medical Association website describes as a “license.”  According to the Medical Board of California, Doctor of Pastoral Science is not recognized in California and does not authorize anyone to practice medicine or any of the healing arts in the state.

Nguyen was investigated by the Sacramento Field Office of the Health Quality Investigation Unit with the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation at the request of the Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the Medical Board of California. Investigators conducted an undercover operation at Nguyen’s clinic where she allegedly diagnosed and treated the undercover operative for an adrenal gland issue, insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.

Nguyen has offices located in El Dorado and Sacramento counties. Her business is called New Life Integrity Wellness and is located on Golden Foothill Parkway, in El Dorado Hills, and on Laguna Spring Drive, in Elk Grove.

Nguyen’s next court appearance is scheduled for February 27, 2017 in Sacramento Superior Court.


Unlicensed Southern California Man Charged with Sexual Battery

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Glendale man is accused of illegally performing medical procedures and assaulting a woman 

Antonio Nozar, of Glendale, will be in court on January 25, 2017, to face two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of practicing medicine without a license.

Nozar, who owns Smooth Skin Laser Clinic on Broadway in Glendale, is accused of inappropriately touching a female patient during a cosmetic procedure he was allegedly illegally performing.

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Operation Safe Medicine unit within the Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit conducted a joint investigation with the Glendale Police Department after a victim alleged that Nozar had inappropriately touched her breasts and vaginal area during a laser hair removal treatment in 2015.

The investigation showed that in addition to allegedly committing sexual battery, Nozar had been illegally performing cosmetic procedures. Nozar is not licensed as a doctor, physician assistant or registered nurse. Investigators learned that another woman had reported similar allegations in 2009, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges due to insufficient evidence.

Shortly before his arrest in August 2016, a third victim reported that Nozar had touched her inappropriately during a treatment earlier this year.

Physician Hooshang Tabibian, of Los Angeles, has been charged with one misdemeanor count of aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine. Tabibian allegedly accepted money from Nozar in exchange for allowing Nozar to use his name to make the clinic appear legitimate.

The law requires that the patient receive an examination from a physician or nurse practitioner before receiving cosmetic treatments. Tabibian allegedly never met any of Nozar’s victims. Tabibian will be in court on January 25, 2017, at which time the Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the Medical Board of California will request an order restricting Tabibian’s ability to practice as a physician for the duration of the criminal proceedings.

The Medical Board of California has published a list of frequently asked questions regarding cosmetic treatments, which can be read here.

Anyone with additional information about Nozar can contact the Medical Board. Complaints against Nozar can be filed here.

Consumers can file complaints against any Department of Consumer Affairs’ licensees here.

The Los Angeles Times story can be read here.


Unlicensed Nurse Faces Charges in Placer and Sacramento Counties

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A Placer County woman faces criminal charges in both Placer and Sacramento counties after she allegedly posed as a Registered Nurse and used someone else’s professional license to gain employment at five area health care facilities.

Lara Noelle Bennett, of Meadow Vista, does not have a license to work as a Registered Nurse in California and she has been charged with a total of 16 counts by the District Attorney’s offices in the two counties.

An investigation was conducted by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit Sacramento Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation. The investigation was initiated after an employer noticed inconsistencies in an application completed by Bennett. The employer then contacted the Board of Registered Nursing, which confirmed that Bennett was not licensed.

The investigation revealed that in 2015, Bennett earned over $15,000 from her alleged fraud. The licensee whose name Bennett used to gain employment was unaware that her identity had been stolen.

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office filed eight counts against Bennett, including four felony charges of identity theft, two felony charges of grand theft from an employer and two misdemeanor charges of unlawful use of the title Registered Nurse.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office filed three felony counts of identity theft, three misdemeanor counts of practicing nursing without a license, two felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of theft.

Bennett was scheduled to appear in Sacramento County Superior Court on November 2, 2016, but failed to appear. Bennett also failed to appear in court in Placer County on October 21, 2016. Judges in each county issued bench warrants for her arrest and she was taken into custody on December 23, 2016.  She is currently being held in Sacramento County and is ineligible for bail.  She will be back in court in Sacramento County on January 11, 2017.