Chico RN Charged with Felony Elder Abuse of Patient who Died While Under her Care

Registered Nurse Allison Joann Guster, of Chico, will be arraigned on June 2, 2017, in Butte County Superior Court.  She has been charged with one felony count of elder abuse following the death of a patient that was in her care.  The charge filed by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office includes a seven year enhancement due to the age of the patient. 

Guster was a night-shift nurse, assigned to care for a patient recovering from surgery.  The investigation revealed that after the patient was found dead in her room early the next morning, Guster allegedly 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 California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation, Investigation and Enforcement Unit, Sacramento Field Office.

The Board of Registered Nursing is reviewing the case and will take disciplinary action against Guster’s license as appropriate.

Click HERE to view the Butte County District Attorney’s Office press release.


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.


Clovis Nurse Charged with Multiple Felony Counts, Including Practicing Medicine Without a License

PrintJennifer Steinbach, a registered nurse from Clovis, will appear in Fresno County Superior Court on December 8, after being charged with 29 felony counts. Charges include 12 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, 16 counts of making false statements in prescription records, and one count of practicing medicine without a license.

The charges are the result of an investigation led by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation, Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Central Valley Field Office.

The investigation found that while employed at a hospital in Fresno, Steinbach allegedly obtained controlled substances including Dilaudid, Diazepam, Morphine, and Hydrocodone illegally.

Steinbach has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The California Board of Registered Nursing will pursue disciplinary action, as appropriate, against Steinbach’s license.


Registered Nurse Faces Sentencing on Felony Count of Insurance Fraud

Deborah Oldham, a Burlingame registered nurse, has pleaded guilty to one count of  insurance fraud and will appear in San Mateo County Superior Court on December 2, 2016 for sentencing. Print

Oldham was originally charged with nine felony counts, including insurance fraud and obtaining controlled substances by fraud.  Her plea was the result of a year-long joint investigation conducted by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Hayward Field Office of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

The investigation showed that while working at Mills-Peninsula Health Services in 2013, Oldham documented administration of fentanyl and midazolam to patients, which resulted in charges to the patients’ insurance providers.

Oldham’s registered nurse license was placed on probation last summer after the California Board of Registered Nursing filed an accusation that Oldham made unintelligible entries pertaining to controlled substances.

The Board’s accusation and order can be viewed here:


Vocational School Owner to Face Charges for Fraudulent Documents, Witness Intimidation

Benard Thomas of Salinas will appear in Monterey County Superior Court on November 17, 2016, on two felony charges of filing false documents with the state and two felony charges of intimidating a witness.  Print

Thomas, a registered nurse, was the owner of TLC Institute of Nursing Education, which offered an unapproved vocational nursing program in Salinas. Thomas advertised that his program would allow students to take the test to become licensed vocational nurses and students paid up to $5,000 to enroll in the program. Because the program was unapproved, Thomas allegedly provided falsified documents, including training hours and employment verification, to the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians so that students would be allowed to take their licensure tests. During the investigation of Thomas, he allegedly tried to intimidate students from talking to investigators.

The Division of Investigation (DOI) Investigation and Enforcement Unit – Hayward Field Office worked with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office to investigate Thomas after a student complained about Thomas’ school to the Board of Registered Nursing.

The Board of Registered Nursing will pursue disciplinary action against Thomas as appropriate.


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.