Former Santa Clarita-Area Physical Therapist Convicted of Identity Theft

Joseph Amirian of Canyon Country, Calif., will appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court on September 14, 2018, for a restitution hearing in an ongoing case in which he has pleaded no contest to one felony count of identity theft. Amirian entered his plea and was sentenced in June.

The Investigation and Enforcement Unit–Chatsworth Field Office within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation led the investigation into Amirian, who was initially charged with six felonies including two counts of identity theft and four counts of forgery and counterfeiting.

Amirian was previously licensed as a physical therapist, but his license was revoked in 2015. Investigators found that following the revocation, Amirian continued to provide in-home physical therapy under the company name, “JA Services.” Amirian allegedly billed for the therapy by using the names of several licensees without their knowledge.

The investigation found that Amirian had been hired to provide in-home care to the patient after he presented his employer with a forged driver license, physical therapist license, CPR card, and malpractice insurance information that were all in the name of another licensee.

This case was the third time the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Amirian.

In 2008, Amirian was convicted of forgery after he forged the signature of a patient on a $5,000 check which he then attempted to cash. In 2010, Amirian’s physical therapy license was suspended for one year and placed on probation for an additional five years with numerous practice restrictions.

During the one-year license suspension, Amirian was found to have continued to work as a physical therapist by using the name and license information of another licensee. In 2012, he was charged with five felony counts of forgery and counterfeiting and five felony counts of practicing medicine without a license. He pleaded no contest to two counts of practicing medicine without a license and was placed on three years of formal probation in 2014. Following that conviction, Amirian’s physical therapist license was revoked, however, the Physical Therapy Board continued to receive complaints that Amirian was using the names of other licensees in order to provide physical therapy services.

Amirian’s disciplinary records can be read here:


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.


Registered Nurse Sentenced to Five Years in State Prison

Kelseyville woman plead no contest to three felonies


Registered nurse (RN) Athina Cook, of Kelseyville, appeared in Lake County Superior Court on May 21, 2018 and was sentenced to five years and four months in state prison. In March, she pleaded no contest to two felony counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and one felony count of causing injury while driving under the influence.

Cook was investigated by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), Investigation and Enforcement Unit-Sacramento Field Office.

DOI investigators found that while Cook was working as an RN at a hospital in Clearlake in November 2015, she diverted controlled substances, including dilaudid and morphine, which were purportedly for her patients. Cook was sentenced to 16 months in prison for obtaining the controlled substances by fraud.

In a separate investigation conducted by the Lakeport Police Department, Cook was found to have caused a non-fatal, head-on collision while she was driving under the influence and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Cook has been prohibited from practicing as a registered nurse since April 2017 due to her ongoing criminal prosecution.

The California Board of Registered Nursing will review her case and take disciplinary action as appropriate.

The order restricting Cook’s RN license can be read here.


Man was also charged with sexual battery against patients

A former psychiatrist was recently charged by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office with felony sexual exploitation and misdemeanor sexual battery, following an investigation into reports of sexual misconduct.

Leon Fajerman of El Cajon, practiced out of offices in San Diego, El Cajon, Chula Vista, and San Ysidro. Between 2016 and 2017, Fajerman is alleged to have engaged in sexual acts with seven patients, resulting in a felony sexual exploitation charge, and to have committed sexual battery against four patients and a patient’s mother, resulting in eight misdemeanor sexual battery charges.

Fajerman surrendered his license to practice medicine to the Medical Board of California on May 15, 2018, following an investigation conducted by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI), Health Quality Investigation Unit-San Diego Field Office with assistance from the Chula Vista Police and San Diego Police departments.

DOI investigators arrested Fajerman on May 24, 2018, with assistance from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Fajerman was released from custody on May 25, 2018.

Documents related to the surrender of Fajerman’s license can be read here.

The news release issued by the Medical Board can be read here.

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.

Carmichael Woman Arrested for Grand Theft and Embezzlement






Lee Marie Brown, of Carmichael, was arrested March 15, 2018, by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigation (DOI) – Sacramento Field Office.  Brown has been charged with three felonies including grand theft, embezzlement by a trustee and embezzlement or theft from an elder or dependent adult.

The arrest warrant was issued by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge.

Brown was investigated after DCA’s Board of Behavioral Sciences learned that she was acting as a therapist and working with vulnerable clients, including the elderly.  Investigators with DOI’s Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) learned that Brown was also allegedly advertising as a “psychotherapist” and a “MFCC” (marriage, family, and child counselor). Brown, who was formerly a marriage and family therapist intern, has not held any professional license since 2001.

In 2013, the board issued a $5,000 citation and Order of Abatement to Brown.  She was ordered to cease and desist from providing psychotherapeutic services without a license.

Following the Order of Abatement, Brown allegedly continued to provide therapy services to multiple individuals.  She also became the trustee of a special needs trust account whose beneficiaries were dependent adults.  Investigators served multiple search warrants and found that Brown had allegedly used thousands of dollars in funds from the trust to make personal purchases and billed the trust thousands of dollars for therapy services that she was not licensed to provide.

Brown is being prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Special Investigations and Public Integrity Unit.

Brown was arraigned on March 19, 2018.  She is scheduled to be back in court on May 22, 2018.

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.


Illegal Buttocks Enhancement Procedure Lands Woman in Prison


A Monterey Park woman has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for injecting a woman with an unknown substance that was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.

Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez, 47, who is not a physician and did not have any professional licenses in the U.S., was sentenced by a federal judge on March 5, 2018, after pleading guilty to one count of receiving and administering an adulterated and misbranded liquid substance and admitting that she injected the liquid substance into the victim during a body contouring procedure that included buttocks enhancement. As part of the plea agreement, Diaz Hernandez will also pay a $95,000 fine and $30,000 restitution to her victim.

The conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations, and Operation Safe Medicine, part of the Health Quality Investigation Unit (HQIU) within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation.

In December 2016, the Medical Board of California received a complaint alleging that Diaz Hernandez had injected a victim with an unknown substance during an enhancement procedure.  HQIU investigators learned the procedure involved a series of treatments at Diaz Hernandez’s home.  During the contouring process, Diaz Hernandez claimed to be a doctor and mislead the victim about the safety of the injections.

Following the procedure, the unknown substance migrated into the victim’s back, hips and legs and she underwent surgery to remove the foreign substance from her body. She was eventually hospitalized due to infections and complications from the procedure and received skin grafts to repair the damage.

HQIU investigators alerted the FDA and HQIU and FDA investigators teamed up to inspect trash from Diaz Hernandez’s home, where they found bottles of Spanish-labeled medical products and empty syringe packaging. Investigators then conducted surveillance on Diaz Hernandez’s home and served a search warrant.

Drugs and medical devices are considered adulterated when they are used for a purpose other than the use they have been approved or cleared for marketing by the FDA. Drugs and medical devices are considered misbranded when their labeling does not have adequate directions and warnings for use under U.S. law or when prescription drugs are dispensed without a written or oral prescription by a licensed medical practitioner.

Diaz Hernandez was arrested in June 2017 and reached a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office in July 2017.

The United States Attorney’s Office news releases can be read HERE.


Former Granite Bay Physician Sentenced on Federal Drug Charges

Former Granite Bay physician Nicholas J. Capos Jr. was sentenced last week by a federal judge to 52 months in prison for selling controlled substance prescriptions and will forfeit $90,000 earned from his illicit activities. Capos had already surrendered his medical license in 2016.

In May 2016, Capos pleaded guilty to five counts of illegal distribution and dispensation of oxycodone. In his plea agreement, Capos admitted to intentionally prescribing controlled substances outside of the usual course of medical practice and without legitimate medical purpose. He also admitted that he accepted payments on a per-prescription basis and that he would write prescriptions based on patients’ requests.

The sentence and license surrender were the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Health Quality Investigation Unit – Sacramento Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (formerly the Sacramento District Office of the Medical Board of California), the California Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The investigation was initiated by the Medical Board in August 2010. In 2012, Medical Board investigators conducted multiple undercover appointments with Capos. That same year, Medical Board investigators teamed up with the DEA and DOJ and served search warrants on Capos’ home in Granite Bay and his businesses in Yuba City and Grass Valley.

The investigation focused on prescriptions written by Capos between 2008 and 2012. Investigators reviewed prescriptions from over 70 pharmacies and numerous patient records. Pharmacy records showed that Capos prescribed 2,640 hydrocodone pills to one patient over a 28-day period. He also prescribed 2,100 oxycodone pills to another patient over a 50-day period.

During the undercover appointments, investigators learned that Capos charged patients a “DEA Fee” of $100 per prescription.  The undercover investigator was able to request prescriptions from Capos for Vicodin, Ambien, Percocet, oxycodone, and promethazine with codeine.  At one point, Capos warned the undercover investigator to “stay under the radar.”

In 2013, the Medical Board filed an accusation against Capos, alleging 39 instances of gross negligence, prescribing without an appropriate prior examination, excessive prescribing, inaccurate medical records and repeated negligence in his care of 10 patients and an undercover Medical Board investigator.

The Medical Board Accusation can be viewed here.

The United States Attorney’s Office press release can be read here.