San Francisco Bay Area Couple Charged with Practicing Medicine Without a License

Santa Clara husband and wife offered laser hair removal and laser skin rejuvenation

Todd and Kathleen Bragg of Santa Clara were arrested June 19, 2018, by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI). Todd Bragg, a chiropractor, and his wife, Kathleen, were each charged with one felony count of practicing medicine without a license and one misdemeanor count of advertising to practice medicine without a license. Todd Bragg was also charged with a felony count of aiding and abetting the practice of medicine without a license.

The arrest warrant was issued on June 19, 2018, by a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge.

The Braggs were investigated after DOI learned they owned and operated a business called “A Youthful Reflection” on Forest Avenue in San Jose that offered laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation. The Braggs hired registered nurses to perform the laser treatments and allegedly told the nurses that they could perform the laser treatments under the chiropractic license of Todd Bragg. Kathleen Bragg does not have any professional license. There was no physician associated with the business and no physician oversaw the laser treatments.

In California, laser hair removal can be legally performed by a physician, or by a physician’s assistant or registered nurse that is working under the supervision of a physician.  Unlicensed persons may not legally perform laser hair removal.

DOI investigated the nurses for performing the laser treatments without proper supervision by a physician and then investigated the Braggs for their alleged continued practice of advertising and performing laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation. The investigation included an undercover operation during which Kathleen Bragg allegedly offered to perform laser hair removal.

The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) – Hayward Field Office and Enforcement Support Unit.  DOI’s Health Quality Investigation Unit (HQIU) and the San Jose Police Department assisted IEU in the arrest.

The Braggs are being prosecuted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit. The Board of Chiropractic Examiners has been notified of Todd Bragg’s arrest.

The Board of Registered Nursing has filed accusations against the nurses that worked for the Braggs, which can be read here:

ACCUSATION – TANYA MICHELLE COOK-RILEY

ACCUSATION – DIXIE LEIGH HERNANDEZ

ACCUSATION – ERIKA CRISTINA MACIAS

ACCUSATION – CHAU NGOC VU

 

 

 

 

 


Chico Registered Nurse Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Registered nurse Allison Joann Guster, of Chico, was sentenced last week to two years in state prison after pleading no contest to one felony count of causing abuse likely to result in the death of an elderly patient.

Guster was ordered to turn herself into the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on May 14, 2018, and was also ordered to pay over $11,000 in restitution to the victim’s family. Her license to practice as a registered nurse had been restricted by the California Board of Registered Nursing during the duration of her criminal case.

Guster was a night-shift nurse, assigned to care for a patient recovering from surgery. After the patient was found dead in her room early the next morning, Guster made false entries in the patient’s medical record to indicate that she had been monitoring the patient throughout the night. Video surveillance showed that Guster had not been in the patient’s room for over six hours.

The case was investigated by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Sacramento Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation and prosecuted by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.

In 2017, the Board of Registered Nursing obtained a court order forbidding Guster from practicing any duties of a registered nurse and will now review the case to determine appropriate disciplinary action against her license.

Click HERE to view the original blog post.

Click  HERE to view the court order prohibiting practice as a registered nurse.



Fresno Area Doctor Charged in Illegal Botox Parties, Nurse Pleads No Contest

A Fresno physician accused of participating in illegal Botox parties was in court on March 20, 2018, and a registered nurse (RN) has pleaded no contest in the case.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office charged Dr. Robert Adams Graham with one felony count of aiding or abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine, while RN Rebekah Suzanne Demoss, of Kingsburg, recently pleaded no contest to dispensing and furnishing dangerous drugs and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
An investigation conducted by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation – Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) Central Valley Field Office determined that Graham teamed up with Demoss, who owned ZLB Rejuvenation on Draper Street in Kingsburg, and he allegedly allowed her to use his name to order prescription drugs.
Undercover operations found that Demoss traveled to homes and day spas to host Botox parties and spa nights. During these events, Demoss injected patients with Botox and Juvederm and offered to sell them Latisse.  These products are prescription medications and must be purchased by a physician. Patients must be examined by a physician or a nurse practitioner before receiving these drugs.
The investigation found that Graham did not perform any examinations of the patients that Demoss injected and he did not review any patient medical records related to the cosmetic treatments. Graham was also not aware of when, what or how much medication Demoss ordered, or where she ordered it.
If convicted, Graham faces a sentence of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 under Business and Professions Code 2052(a).
The Medical Board of California has filed an accusation against Graham, which can be read HERE.
The Board of Registered Nursing has filed an accusation against Demoss, which can be read HERE.

 


Nurse Practitioner Arrested for Illegally Issuing Prescriptions

Jasmine Hill, of Bakersfield, was arrested and charged with nine felonies and one misdemeanor after it was discovered that she allegedly wrote prescriptions for herself for controlled substances.

Kern County Superior Court issued an arrest warrant and Hill was taken into custody on Oct. 6, 2017, by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) with assistance from the Bakersfield Police Department.

Click HERE to view the full news release.


Santa Rosa Nurse Practitioner Pleads No Contest After Being Charged with Illegally Issuing Prescriptions

PrintA Santa Rosa nurse practitioner pleaded no contest last week after being charged with illegally issuing prescriptions to her family members.

An investigation led by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit in the Hayward Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation found that nurse practitioner Mary Carroll-Ambrose, of Santa Rosa, wrote 48 prescriptions for opioid controlled substances to her husband, daughter and son. There were over 9,000 pills prescribed over a two-year period.

The pills included opioid painkillers such as Norco, hydrocodone and codeine.

As a nurse practitioner, Carroll-Ambrose’s practice and prescribing was supposed to be supervised by a physician at her employer, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, but her supervising physician had not authorized Carroll-Ambrose to prescribe narcotics to her family members and he was unaware of her prescribing activity.  Additionally, there were no records to indicate that Carroll-Ambrose had been treating family members in the normal course of practice at her employer.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office charged Carroll-Ambrose with four felony counts of illegally issuing prescriptions as a result of her writing prescriptions to her family which were allegedly not for a legitimate medical purpose and were not written in the usual course of her professional practice.  Carroll-Ambrose pleaded no contest to one felony count.

Carroll-Ambrose will appear in court for sentencing on October 14, 2015.

On June 15, 2015, the Board of Registered Nursing filed an Accusation to pursue disciplinary action against Carroll-Ambrose’s nursing license, which can be read here.


Undercover Operation by DOI Safe Medicine Unit Uncovers Unlicensed Practice of Medicine

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A San Gabriel physician and a Registered Nurse could face possible disciplinary action against their licenses for illegally administering Botox at a medical spa.

An investigation conducted by the Division of Investigation’s Operation Safe Medicine Unit found that a Registered Nurse was offering Botox, laser hair removal, and other medical procedures without the supervision of a physician, as required by California law.  Registered Nurses are allowed to perform some medical procedures, but only upon receipt of instructions from a doctor and within specific limitations.

Eastern Beauty Medical Spa, in San Gabriel, was owned by Dr. Edwin Choi and by Registered Nurse Lydia Perkins.  During two undercover operations, it was discovered that Perkins was conducting medical consultations, providing medical recommendations, and then performing medical procedures without having consulted Dr. Choi or any other physician.

In March  2015, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Perkins with two misdemeanor counts for practicing medicine without a license.  Dr. Choi was charged with two misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine.

The results of the investigations have been forwarded to the Board of Registered Nursing for consideration of disciplinary action against Perkins’ license. The Medical Board of California will take the appropriate action regarding Dr. Choi’s license following the outcome of the criminal prosecution.