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.

 


Los Angeles Day Spa Closed Due to Unlicensed Practice of Medicine

The owner/managers of Zena Day Spa and three of their employees are facing felony charges in Los Angeles County Superior Court as the result of an investigation conducted by “Operation Safe Medicine,” a task force within the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation Health Quality Investigation Unit whose mission is to investigate unlicensed activity and unsafe practice of medicine.   The spa, which was located on Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City, is now closed.  Print

Fouad Nouri, a physician, allegedly aided and abetted the unlicensed activity of Mikhaiel Ayad Mikhaiel, the spa’s owner.  After Mikhaiel’s death, his wife Reda Fakery Mikhaiel, aka Reda Mikhiael, a cosmetologist, managed the spa and allegedly allowed employees to perform cosmetic procedures, including Botox and intense pulsed light laser treatments, on patients who had not received an examination by a doctor or nurse practitioner.  The investigation was initiated after a patient complained of third degree burns and scarring to her face after receiving intense pulsed light laser treatments at the spa in 2013.

The investigation and undercover operations showed that registered nurses Darla Sheree O’Brien and Jhoanna Maria Gando Pereja, and esthetician Rula Abusnaineh, were illegally performing medical procedures.

Mikhaiel and Abusnaineh were each charged with one felony count of unlicensed practice of medicine.  Mikhaiel’s cosmetology license is currently on probation by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology as the result of a prior investigation.  Mikhaiel and Abusnaineh will return to court on January 18.

O’Brien was charged with two felony counts of unlicensed practice of medicine.  She pleaded no contest to one count and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5.  Nouri was charged with one felony count of aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine.  He pleaded no contest and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10.  On November 8, 2016, the Medical Board of California obtained an order limiting Nouri’s practice of medicine and barring him from having ownership interest in any medical day spas or performing cosmetic procedures for the duration of the criminal proceeding.

Pereja has been charged with two felony counts of unlicensed practice of medicine and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.  She is believed to be out of the country.

The Accusation against Nouri can be read here:

The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, Board of Registered Nursing and the Medical Board of California will pursue disciplinary action, as appropriate, against their respective licensees.


Federal Charges Brought for Illegal Sale of Prescription Medications

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An Orange County man was arrested last week for the illegal sale of prescription medications.

Sean Gerson, of Laguna Hills, was taken into custody on December 13, 2016, following a lengthy investigation into his illegal sales of prescription medications. Gerson allegedly used multiple websites to sell misbranded veterinary medications including antibiotics and flea treatments. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Gerson with one felony and one misdemeanor count for misbranding and dispensing drugs without prescriptions and his bail has been set at $25,000.

Gerson’s arrest was the result of years of investigation by both federal and state agencies. Gerson was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation San Diego Field Office, California Veterinary Medical Board and California State Board of Pharmacy.

Gerson was previously convicted of similar state charges in Texas in 2014.

In California, Gerson was allegedly operating a pharmacy without a valid pharmacy license, selling drugs without prescriptions and was using the names of licensed veterinarians, without their knowledge, in order to obtain the drugs he was selling. There were also allegations that he had misrepresented himself as a veterinarian.

Information was referred to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in 2013, but they declined to file criminal charges. Gerson has faced civil lawsuits in Orange County from the Department of Pesticide Regulation and from the various companies that provided him with the products he sold.

The Division of Investigation worked closely with the Federal Drug Administration to obtain the evidence needed for the criminal charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office news release can be read here.

Information about the California Department of Pesticide Regulation cases can be read here.


Physician and Nurses Face Felony Charges

Central Valley medical spa staff accused of unlawful practice of medicine.

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A Central Valley physician and three registered nurses have all been charged with felonies for the unlawful practice of medicine.

Physician Mark Nazarian, of Fresno; and registered nurses Jaclynne Burris, of Fresno; Crystal Bartolome, of Clovis; and Elsa Ortiz, of Fresno; were all charged with felonies by the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office following an investigation conducted by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit Central Valley Field Office of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation.

Nazarian, who is the medical director at Mystique Medical Spa and Wellness Center on North Howard Street in Fresno, was charged with one felony count of aiding and abetting the unlawful practice of medicine after undercover operations showed that the registered nurses working there were administering Botox to patients who had not been given an appropriate prior examination by a doctor or nurse practitioner.

The registered nurses were also found to allegedly be illegally selling prescription-only medications including  Latisse and Retin-A.  Burris was charged with three felony counts of unlawful practice of medicine, Bartolome was charged with four felony counts of unlawful practice of medicine and Ortiz was charged with five felony counts of unlawful practice of medicine.  Mystique Medical Spa and Wellness Center is owned by chiropractor Samuel Stephen Krikorian Jr.

Nazarian, Burris, Bartolome and Ortiz will appear in Fresno County Superior Court on December 12, 2016.  The California Board of Registered Nursing and the Medical Board of California will pursue disciplinary action, as appropriate, against the licensees.