Man Arrested for Practicing Medicine Without a License

PrintSan Juan Bautista resident was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon

San Benito County – A San Juan Bautista man was arrested last week for the unlicensed practice of medicine.

The Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Central Valley Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation investigated and arrested Slave Petkovski, also known as “Doc” Petkovski, following a consumer complaint that was made to the California Acupuncture Board.

An undercover investigation and subsequent search warrant revealed Petkovski ran a business in San Juan Bautista called Petkovski Massage, Fitness and Spine Center located at 301 Alameda, Suite J.  At the center, Petkovski treated patients using acupuncture and also offered chiropractic services, even though he is not licensed to offer either of these services.  Petkovski also offered a medical procedure in which he injected saline into patients’ spinal cords.

The California Acupuncture Board, the San Benito County Sheriff’s Department and Investigators with the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office also assisted with this investigation.

“Consumer safety is of the utmost importance,” said California Acupuncture Board executive officer Terri Thorfinnson. “Consumers need to seek health services from properly trained professionals who are licensed.”

The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office charged Petkovski with six counts of practicing medicine without a license and five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, all felonies. The bail amount was set at $270,000.00. Petkovski is scheduled to be arraigned on these charges in the San Benito County Superior Court on September 10, 2015.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.


Search Continues for Victims of Alleged Fake Doctor

Richmond man arrested for practicing medicine without a license after claiming to be an oncologist.

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A Northern California man will appear in Ventura County Court on October 26, 2015, to face felony charges of the unlawful practice of medicine and elder abuse, and a misdemeanor charge of furnishing dangerous drugs without a license.

Vincent Gammill, of El Cerrito, allegedly charged a cancer patient $2,000 and promised her a cure. He then furnished her with expired pharmaceutical medications and dirt.

Gammill, the owner of the Natural Oncology Institute in Richmond, claimed he was an oncologist, but has no license to practice medicine in California. Gammill was arrested on July 9, 2015, after a search warrant at his home and office turned up laboratory equipment, bottles labeled “corrosive” and “poison” and more than 25,000 prescription pills including morphine, Ambien, steroids and Mexican and Russian drugs.

On August 31, 2015, Gammill pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The investigation was a joint effort between the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit (PUC), a task force that consists of law enforcement officers from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Simi Valley Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit.

More victims are being sought. Southern California residents may contact the PUC at (805) 383-8700 or email pharm.tip@ventura.org. Northern California residents may contact Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office at (925) 313-2600.

To view the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office press release, go to:
http://www.vcsd.org/press-release.php?id=1326


DCA Investigators Honored at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District 14th Annual Law Enforcement Awards

PrintLOS ANGELES – Three Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) investigators were recognized today at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California 14th Annual Law Enforcement Awards for their distinguished service.

“It is an honor to have our investigators recognized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Division of Investigation Chief Michael Gomez. “We are extremely proud of our investigators and their hard work. This recognition is well-deserved.”

Supervising Investigator Laura J. Gardhouse and Investigator Larry Bennett were recognized for their work on a case involving Dr. Andrew S. Sun. Sun, a former southern California physician, was convicted of money laundering and illegally prescribing and distributing controlled substances. Sun was sentenced earlier this year to serve five years in federal prison. DOI’s Health Quality Investigation Unit collaborated on this investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, California Department of Health Care Services, and Monterey Park Police Department.

Supervising Investigator Carmen Aguilera-Marquez was recognized for her work on operation “Cat Eyes.” The Los Angeles-area investigation led to federal criminal charges being filed last year against 12 defendants for allegedly selling decorative and cosmetic contact lenses—including some that were contaminated—without prescriptions. DOI’s Health Quality Investigation Unit collaborated on this investigation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Import Operations Branch of the Los Angeles District Office, FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and California Department of Public Health.

“The Law Enforcement Awards event is one of the highlights of our year as we happily take the time to recognize the hard – and sometimes thankless – work of investigators who can devote years of their lives to a single case to ensure that justice is served,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “These awards are not only a symbol of the dedication of our law enforcement partners; they also recognize the incredible working relationships that we have forged in this District.”

The annual awards ceremony recognizes federal, state, and local agents, officers, and investigators who worked on U.S. Attorney’s Office cases in the district.

For more information on the cases, see the U.S. Attorney’s Office news releases regarding the Dr. Sun investigation and operation “Cat Eyes.”

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 


NEWS: Husband and Wife Arrested for Practicing Medicine Without a License

SACRAMENTO – A Downey, California husband and wife have been arrested for the unlicensed practice of medicine.

Jose Alfredo Martinez and Emma Haydee Gonzalez were arrested Thursday following an investigation by the Health Quality Investigations Unit within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation as part of its ongoing Operation Safe Medicine.

Investigators received a tip that Martinez, a former physician who lost his license in 2005, was practicing medicine without a license. Investigators posed as patients and received treatments during their visits with Martinez.

The investigation also revealed that Gonzalez was illegally administering injections and providing prescriptions to patients.

Martinez, in addition to the felony charges of practicing medicine without a license, has been charged with probation violations.

Martinez and Gonzalez remain in custody. Martinez will appear in Downey Municipal Court on May 11, 2015. A court date for Gonzalez has not yet been set.

Martinez’s 2005 revocation records can be found here.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 


Canine Care, Inc. Ordered To Pay $150,000 In Restitution For The Unlicensed Practice Of Veterinary Medicine

doi logooo SACRAMENTO – Canine Care, Inc. has been ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution for the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine following a settlement agreement with law enforcement authorities.

An investigation into Canine Care, Inc. led by the Division of Investigation Sacramento Field Office revealed the company was illegally advertising and performing anesthesia-free pet teeth cleaning using scalers. Further investigation determined their operation was widespread throughout the state. Performing anesthesia-free teeth cleaning using any instrument, device, or scaler is illegal unless the individual is licensed by the California Veterinary Medical Board. Canine Care, Inc. did not possess the required California Veterinary Medical Board licenses to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office filed the complaint against Canine Care, Inc. in coordination with District Attorney’s Offices from Fresno, Sacramento, and Ventura counties.

“Not only were the services Canine Care, Inc. performed in violation of the law, but it also put consumers’ pets at risk,” said DCA Division of Investigation Chief Michael Gomez. “We thank the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office for their hard work in coordinating the complaint and settlement agreement.”

In addition to restitution, Canine Care, Inc. and its associates are prohibited from conducting veterinary medicine activities or portraying themselves as veterinary medicine professionals, unless they have the necessary licenses. The $150,000 in restitution will be paid to consumers, the California Veterinary Medical Board, and to Contra Costa, Fresno, Sacramento and Ventura counties.

“The resolution to the case against Canine Care, Inc. is a long time coming and we are pleased with the outcome,” said Veterinary Medical Board Executive Officer Annemarie DelMugnaio. “Taking action against unlicensed activity protects consumers and their pets from unqualified individuals. The outcome in the Canine Care case should assist the Board and veterinarians in educating the public about the importance of seeking dental care from trained and licensed professionals who understand what it takes to keep our animals healthy.”

It is important for consumers to make sure the professionals they conduct business with have valid licenses. Consumers can verify a license by visiting www.dca.ca.gov or calling (800) 952-5210.

dog teeth cleaning 1

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 The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 


Investigation Finds Two Women Practicing Medicine Without Licenses

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SACRAMENTO – Two women face felony charges in Nevada County for allegedly practicing medicine without a license.

An investigation led by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation Sacramento Field Office found Catherine Miller of Sacramento was falsely claiming to be a Naturopathic Doctor and Nancy Naumann of Grass Valley was falsely claiming to be a Physician Assistant. Each also faces a felony conspiracy charge and four misdemeanor charges.

Investigators found that in 2011 and 2013 Miller and Naumann advertised on Web sites with false and misleading statements about their qualifications. In 2007, Miller had been previously issued a citation by the Board of Registered Nursing for misidentifying herself as a Registered Nurse.

Miller and Naumann were ordered to appear in Nevada County Superior Court on October 6, 2014. Naumann was arraigned and her next court appearance is scheduled for November 20, 2014. Miller failed to appear in court and a warrant for her arrest has been issued.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.


Physician Extradited From Arizona To Face Felony Charges In California

DOISACRAMENTO – Peace Officers with the DCA Division of Investigation (DOI) extradited a California doctor from an Arizona federal prison to face felony criminal charges in California. Pezhman Ebrahimzadeh, M.D., who also goes by Pez Abrahams, was transferred to California custody and escorted back to California on August 15, 2014. He will face charges in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Charges were filed against Abrahams after an investigation by DOI revealed he committed sex crimes against his medical patients. As a result of the investigatory findings, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed felony criminal charges against him.

Abrahams traveled to Arizona in an attempt to avoid facing charges and was fighting extradition to California. DOI and Arizona authorities worked together to ensure the successful extradition of Abrahams to California. A court date has been set for August 28, 2014.

DOI is the DCA Law Enforcement Branch and provides centralized investigative services for DCA. DOI designates investigators as sworn peace officers, who perform a full range of peace officer duties and responsibilities in order to protect California consumers and licensees by effectively and efficiently enforcing laws, regulations and professional standards.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 


Exam Subversion Defendant Pleads Guilty To Two Felonies

July 10, 2014

Will also pay $400,000 in restitution to the Department of Consumer Affairs

SACRAMENTO – A southern California man accused of subverting state licensing exams has pled guilty to two felony burglary counts and will pay $400,000 in restitution to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Larry Holmes, Jr., and a business associate were arrested in January following an investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Investigation. The investigation revealed ACEAPP Training, which was operated by the pair, helped people cheat on numerous state licensing exams.

Exam materials for 12 different state-administered exams were illegally obtained affecting licensing entities including the Structural Pest Control Board, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Industrial Relations, the California Secretary of State and other departments.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case,” said Susan Saylor, the Executive Officer of the Structural Pest Control Board, who originally requested the investigation. “Exam subversion is not only illegal, but it can put consumers at risk and will not be tolerated.”

As a result of the guilty plea, Holmes was sentenced to 30 days in county jail, 30 days of Caltrans work projects, placed on three years formal probation and ordered to pay $400,000 to the Department. He has already paid $200,000 and the rest will be paid over two years. A Superior Court Order was also issued against Holmes which suspends his Pest Control Operator’s license pending final resolution of his administrative case.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.


Seven Plead Guilty to Forging Transcripts In Order to Become Nurses

May 23, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Seven people have pleaded guilty to charges of forgery for using fake transcripts to become licensed as Registered Nurses. All were arrested as a result of a multi-agency probe involving the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr. and Glyn Cordova Villegas of Kern County, James Quijano Leoncio of Orange County, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Laurence Viernes, German Zagada and Jude Dagza Leoncio of Los Angeles County applied for licenses to practice as Registered Nurses in California using false and forged nursing school transcripts from the Philippines. They now face up to three years in prison.

“Protecting patient safety is the Board’s top priority,” said Louise Bailey, Executive Officer of the Board of Registered Nursing. “A nurse without the proper education could be dangerous to a patient.”

The Division of Investigation worked with HSI, the Internal Revenue Services’ Criminal Investigation Division and the California Board of Registered Nursing to investigate and arrest the seven. An eighth individual Joanne Keeney, the suspected-ringleader, currently resides in the Philippines.  There is a warrant for her arrest.

“We are happy we were able to crack this ring of forgers and keep them from possibly harming patients,” said Division of Investigation Chief Michael Gomez. “We would not have been able to do that without the cooperation from all of those working on the case at the Division of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS.”

“IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI) is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the American public both domestically and internationally,”  said José M. Martínez, Special Agent in Charge, Oakland Field Office.  “These crimes touched the lives of many unsuspecting citizens and the public should know that we will hold accountable those individuals who put personal financial gain through deceit above the safety and well-being of the public that we serve.”

“The diligent efforts by HSI special agents here in the Bay Area and the Philippines were instrumental in exposing this potentially dangerous scheme and eliminating a significant threat to public safety,” said Tatum King, acting special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “Without HSI’s global reach and its partnership with Philippine authorities, it would have been difficult to develop the evidence overseas needed to bring the charges in this case. This investigation illustrates yet again how communities benefit from HSI’s working relationships with local, state and foreign agencies.”

At the request of the Board of Registered Nursing, a Sacramento County Superior Court Judge has ordered Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr., Glyn Cordova Villegas, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Jude Dagza Leoncio, and James Quijano Leoncio not to practice as registered nurses.

The Board filed and served accusations against Juan Malaluan Tenorio Jr., Glyn Cordova Villegas, Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Jude Dagza Leoncio and James Quijano Leoncio on May 16, 2014, and German Zagada on May 22, 2014 seeking revocation of their RN licenses.

All seven people are expected to be sentenced June 27, 2014.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 

The Board of Registered Nursing regulates the practice of registered nursing and certified advanced practice nurses in order to protect the public. The Board exists to protect the health and safety of consumers and promote quality registered nursing care in California.