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

 

 

 

 

 


Former Engineer Pleads to Felony for Filing False Documents

Former engineer Adebowale Sodipo pleaded no contest in April to one charge of filing false documents with a public office. Sodipo initially faced four felony counts and his trial had been set to begin on May 21, 2018, in San Mateo County Superior Court. Sodipo owned Carona Engineers in San Ramon.

Department of Consumer Affairs’ Investigation and Enforcement Unit (IEU) led an investigation into Sodipo on behalf of the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists after he was alleged to have continued working as a civil and structural engineer during time periods that his licenses were not valid due to nonpayment of the renewal fees.

The investigation by IEU’s Hayward Field Office found that from June 2013 to February 2015 and from June 2015 to December 2015, Sodipo’s civil and structural engineer licenses were expired for nonpayment of state licensing renewal fees. During those time periods, Sodipo allegedly submitted one set of building plans to the City of South San Francisco and three sets of plans to the City of Belmont, which all included engineering stamps that had been altered to indicate that his licenses had been renewed.

Sodipo’s civil and structural engineer licenses were revoked effective April 11, 2018. The Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists filed accusations against Sodipo alleging breach of contract and practicing engineering without authorization in relation to the events in South San Francisco and Belmont, as well as for breach of contract in relation to the events in Hayward, San Pablo and Oakland.

The investigation also found that Sodipo had accepted money and entered into contracts on three other engineering projects in Hayward, San Pablo and Oakland, but failed to complete the projects or to produce usable drawings.

The revocation order and accusation can be read here: http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/public/s–3860_dec1147.pdf


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.


Preliminary Hearing Set for Owner of a Saratoga Medical Clinic

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A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court for a Saratoga physician charged with two felonies for aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine at his clinic.

An investigation led by the Health Quality Investigation Unit of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) found Dr. David George Wetterholt had allowed Jeffrey Lawrence Mauck to practice medicine in his clinic without a license. Dr. Wetterholt, owner of the Saratoga Walk-In Clinic, allegedly allowed Mauck to work in the clinic as an unpaid physician assistant trainee and to evaluate and treat patients, including suturing a laceration on a minor.

Mauck also allegedly used Dr. Wetterholt’s physician license and Drug Enforcement Agency license to illegally obtain controlled substances. DOI worked with Special Agents from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Mauck and Dr. Wetterholt were arrested in November 2014 by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Mauck was charged with two felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, eight misdemeanor counts for possession of controlled substances, and two misdemeanor counts for possession of burglary tools.

Mauck is also facing separate federal charges. A felony indictment was filed against Mauck on January 28, 2015, charging him with seven counts of being an unregistered manufacturer of guns and producing short barreled rifles. His next court date is scheduled for July 8, 2015 in the U.S. District Court in San Jose.


Doctor and Husband Arrested In Connection with Death of Patient

PrintA Thousand Oaks doctor and her husband have been arrested in connection with the death of an elderly patient.

Dr. Ellen Crowe and Paul McQuillan, who own and operate House Call Doctor Thousand Oaks, were arrested May 13, 2015 following an investigation by the Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit and the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit.

Investigators allege the death of an elderly patient was related to treatment she received from McQuillan – who has no license or official medical training, and Crowe.

During a medical visit to the victim’s home last July, McQuillan allegedly injected the patient with morphine and she fell into a deep sleep. According to investigators’ reports, the morphine was provided by Crowe and ordered by another doctor. McQuillan allegedly left the residence before a technician from another company arrived to perform an ultrasound. McQuillan returned to the residence while the ultrasound was being conducted, when he realized the patient did not have a pulse and called 9-11. The patient was resuscitated by emergency responders, but never regained consciousness and died two days later.

McQuillan and Crowe were booked into the Ventura County Jail and secured bail. McQuillan faces charges for practicing medicine without a license and illegally furnishing morphine. Crowe faces charges for conspiracy to practice medicine without a license and conspiracy to furnish morphine. Additional charges and an additional arrest are possible.

McQuillan and Crowe will be arraigned in Ventura County Superior Court on May 27th.

Read the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit news release here.


San Diego County Pair to Appear in Court to Face Unlicensed Practice of Medicine Charges

A San Diego woman and physician will appear before the San Diego County Superior Court on May 19, 2015 for a preliminary hearing to face charges involving the unlicensed practice of medicine.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office alleged that between September and December 2013 Suzanne Suarez falsely represented herself as a Physician Assistant. Suarez does not possess a Physician Assistant’s license and was engaging in illegal activity by performing services she is not licensed to perform. She is also accused of writing prescriptions, and examining and diagnosing patients while employed at Carlsbad Orthopedic Group.

Dr. Jon Pembroke Kelly, who employed Suarez at the Carlsbad Orthopedic Group, is accused of conspiring with her and aiding in the unlicensed practice of medicine.

Suarez was charged with four felony counts and Kelly was charged with one felony count. Both Suarez and Kelly pled not guilty to the charges.


NEWS: Husband and Wife Arrested for Practicing Medicine Without a License

SACRAMENTO – A Downey, California husband and wife have been arrested for the unlicensed practice of medicine.

Jose Alfredo Martinez and Emma Haydee Gonzalez were arrested Thursday following an investigation by the Health Quality Investigations Unit within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation as part of its ongoing Operation Safe Medicine.

Investigators received a tip that Martinez, a former physician who lost his license in 2005, was practicing medicine without a license. Investigators posed as patients and received treatments during their visits with Martinez.

The investigation also revealed that Gonzalez was illegally administering injections and providing prescriptions to patients.

Martinez, in addition to the felony charges of practicing medicine without a license, has been charged with probation violations.

Martinez and Gonzalez remain in custody. Martinez will appear in Downey Municipal Court on May 11, 2015. A court date for Gonzalez has not yet been set.

Martinez’s 2005 revocation records can be found here.

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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.

 


Preliminary Hearing Set For Southern California Man Facing Felony Charges

PrintA southern California man has been charged with 11 felonies after an investigation revealed he was illegally using licenses belonging to an Architect and Professional Engineer.

An investigation by the Division of Investigation’s (DOI) Chatsworth Field Office into Juan “Gary” Padilla Alzona, of Torrance, revealed he used license numbers that did not belong to him in order to portray himself as a licensed professional. The California Architects Board received numerous complaints that Alzona was posing as an architect and due to the serious nature of the allegations, the Board forwarded the case to the DOI for criminal investigation. One victim reported a loss of more than $55,000.

For approximately two to three years, Alzona operated a business called Sol Lunar, in Venice, through which he posed as a licensed professional. He illegally used license numbers belonging to an Architect and a Professional Engineer along with forged professional stamps and signatures to submit building plans to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. Alzona is not licensed as an Architect or Professional Engineer.

Alzona appeared in the Los Angeles Superior Court to face felony charges for identity theft, submitting false information to a public agency, forgery, grand theft, and forging an official seal. He pled not guilty and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 16, 2015.

The Department of Consumer Affairs urges consumers to verify license information before allowing anyone to perform professional services. Licenses can be verified here.


Fake Pest Control Service Company Operator Convicted of Four Felonies

A southern California man who impersonated a pest control service company operator and scammed elderly victims has been convicted of four felonies and faces two years in prison.

Eldad Syton was convicted last week in the Los Angeles County Superior Court of one felony count of burglary and three felony counts of theft from an elder. Syton was advertising as a pest control service company operator when in fact he is not licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board to provide those types of services. As part of his scheme, he targeted elderly victims and entered into contracts with them to provide pest control services. He would then convince victims additional work was needed and entered into larger contracts for work that was never performed. It is estimated his victims lost more than $350,000.

The conviction is the result of an investigation conducted by the Division of Investigation’s Chatsworth Field Office, Los Angeles Police Department, Burbank Police Department, Whittier Police Department, and Santa Monica Police Department.

The Structural Pest Control Board initially received the complaint about Syton and due to the serious nature of the allegations, the Board forwarded the case for criminal investigation.

Syton will appear in court on March 18, 2015 for a restitution hearing.

Read past stories about this case:

Los Angeles Police Department
California Statewide Law Enforcement Association


Undercover Operation Leads To Arrest And Felony Charges

shutterstock_125852813A southern California physician has been charged with a felony for practicing medicine without a valid license.

An undercover investigation into Foad Salehani, MD, by the Division of Investigation’s Operation Safe Medicine revealed he was practicing medicine illegally as he does not have a valid license to practice medicine from the Medical Board of California.

At the time of his arrest, not only did Salehani have an expired and suspended license, but he was also on probation with the Medical Board. The suspended license was for failing to comply with the terms of his probationary order.

Salehani will appear before the Los Angeles Superior Court to face charges. The Medical Board’s administrative case against him is pending.