When a medical doctor is scamming patients out of hundreds of thousands of dollars based on false hope and false cures, investigators at the California Medical Board are among those who step in to put a stop to it.
Their work, along with the IRS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, resulted in a 14 year federal prison sentence for Christine Daniel, 58, owner of a Mission Hills medical clinic. Daniel, a medical doctor, was sentenced to prison May 17, 2013 for selling a bogus cancer cure to as many as 60 victim-patients for a total of more than $1.2 million dollars.
"The victims in this case trusted Daniel because she was a doctor and a prominent Pentecostal minister," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "Our CSLEA members who are investigators with the Medical Board must have heard one heartbreaking story after another of victims who put their money, trust and faith in Daniel only to suffer serious health consequences or in some cases, die."
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Daniel fraudulently marketed and collected more than $1 million for a medical treatment that she and her employees claimed could cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes and hepatitis. Daniel claimed that her bogus cancer cure had a success rate of between 60 percent and 80 percent for the most advanced forms of cancer.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Daniel’s treatment did not cure anyone of cancer, nor was it was made from herbs from around the world or blended for an individual patient, as she had promised patients. The bogus "cure" contained sunscreen preservative and beef extract flavoring, among other ingredients, none of which could have had any effect on cancer or other diseases, according to expert testimony.
A jury heard testimony from medical experts as well as from 28 victim-patients or family members of victims who had died while taking Daniel's product. She was convicted of four counts of mail and wire fraud, six counts of tax evasion and one count of witness tampering.
The tax evasion: In an attempt to operate her business under the guise of a non-profit organization, Daniel instructed patients to classify their medical service payments as donations. According to documents filed with the court, for the tax years 2002 through 2004, Daniel failed to report nearly $1.3 million on her corporate income tax returns, which resulted in a tax loss to the government of approximately $438,809. Similarly, Daniel failed to report approximately $315,109 on her personal income tax returns for the same time period, resulting in an additional tax loss to the government of $73,895. (http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2013/071.html)
The witness tampering: The evidence presented at trial showed that Daniel attempted to influence the testimony of at least two witnesses who were called to testify before the grand jury. One of those witnesses, a long-time patient of Daniel, admitted during trial that he lied to both law enforcement officers and the federal grand jury after being improperly influenced by her. (http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2013/071.html)
In addition to the 14 year prison sentence, Daniel was ordered to forfeit more than $1.2 million dollars. Following the sentencing, Daniel was remanded into custody.