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.

 

 

 


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.


DOI Investigations Round Up – September and October

The goal of protecting consumers is paramount to the staff of the Department of PrintConsumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI).  DOI works closely with District Attorneys’ Offices and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that goal is met.

Below are updates on three previously posted cases which were investigated by the staff of the Investigation and Enforcement Unit’s San Diego Field Office, Chatsworth Field Office and the Health Quality Investigation Unit’s – Tustin Field Office.

Dr. Jeffrey Joel Abrams

On September 25, 2015, a San Diego physician who sexually assaulted female patients – one victim was eight-years old – and took explicit photographs of them with his cellphone at an El Cajon clinic for low-income patients, was sentenced to one year of house arrest and five years probation.  Also, Dr. Jeffrey Abrams, 68, must register as a sex offender.  Abrams’ license to practice medicine has been suspended by the Medical Board of California since October 2014.

Read previous story here.

Hector Menjivar

A Southern California man known as “Doctor Hector” was convicted of practicing veterinary medicine without a license.  On October 7, 2015, Hector Menjivar was sentenced to serve 30 days in county jail, 36 months of probation, complete 500 hours of community service, attend 16 animal cruelty counseling program sessions and he must avoid the Holiday Humane Vet Clinic in North Hollywood.

Read previous story here.

Kim Anna Arvdalen

The owner of  The Chocolate Day Spa in Orange County, who was charged with conspiring and aiding and abetting in the unlicensed practice of medicine, entered a guilty plea on September 24, 2015.  Kim Arvdalen is required to pay restitution in the amount of $8,000 and serve 100 hours of community service.  Arvdalen will also be required to serve three years of informal probation.

Read previous story here.


Preliminary Hearing Scheduled for Doctor Facing Felony Charges

A preliminary hearing for a San Diego physician facing 24 felony charges has been scheduled for March 11, 2015, in the San Diego Superior Court.

Dr. Jeffrey Joel Abrams was arrested last November at a San Diego airport after the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office charged him with fifteen counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, eight counts of sexual battery, and one count of possession of child pornography.

The arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation – San Diego Field Office. It is alleged the crimes took place at a medical office in El Cajon. It is also alleged that Abrams had 1,300 pictures of nude or partially nude women in exam rooms on his cell phone, including a photo of a minor.

The Medical Board of California obtained an Interim Order of Suspension last October which immediately suspended his medical license and prohibited him from practicing medicine in California, pending further administrative action.