Dana Point Woman Accused of Practicing Veterinary Medicine Without a License

A Dana Point woman has been charged with six misdemeanor counts related to her operation of an unlicensed veterinary medical practice

Gabriele Gross, operator of Eqoulution, LLC in Ladera Ranch, has been charged with three counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and three counts of giving false or misleading advertising statements.

The charges against Gross stem from an investigation conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), on behalf of the Veterinary Medical Board. DOI’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit San Diego Field Office. Investigators learned during the investigation that Gross was allegedly referring to herself as a doctor, veterinarian, and DVM – or doctor of veterinary medicine – in advertisements and contacts with the public. She also allegedly ran an illegal practice where she examined and treated horses with Cushing’s disease.

During an undercover operation, Gross allegedly examined a horse with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and prescribed treatment that included stopping a medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Gross is scheduled to appear in Orange County Superior Court on June 8, 2018.

 


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.


Investigation Leads to Convictions for Illegal Practice of Veterinary Medicine

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Former Novato Veterinarian Charles Galvin pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and conspiracy to commit a crime last month in Marin County Superior Court. Galvin’s assistant, Gail Ann Caughie, of Sepastopol, also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

In December 2013, the Veterinary Medical Board requested that the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation conduct an investigation of Galvin after receiving complaints that he was practicing veterinary medicine, with the assistance of Caughie, at Veterinary Hospital of Ignacio in Novato. Galvin’s Veterinary Medicine License was revoked by the Veterinary Medical Board in 2009.

In May 2015, Galvin and Caughie were each charged with felony conspiracy to operate an unlicensed veterinary practice after an undercover investigation found the two were maintaining a veterinary office and were performing examinations, diagnosing and treating animals, performing surgery on animals, possessing drugs for the purpose of performing procedures on animals, maintaining medical records on animals, taking money from animal owners for compensation of treatment, and providing medication for animals.

Galvin and Caughie were also each charged with a felony for unlawful disposal of medical waste, for their improper disposal of used suture needles, and a misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance, Ketamine.

As part of a plea deal with the Marin County District Attorney, Galvin was ordered to complete fifty hours of community service.  Caughie was ordered to complete one hundred hours of community service.  Galvin and Caughie were both ordered to pay restitution to the Veterinary Medical Board for the cost of the investigation and they will each be on probation for three years.

Galvin and Caughie were investigated by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit’s Sacramento Field Office.

Documents related to Galvin’s revocation 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.