|For Immediate Release
Case # 09CF2349
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SELF-PROCLAIMED NATURAL DOCTOR SENTENCED FOR TREATING CANCER PATIENTS WITHOUT
A LICENSE AND PRACTICING MEDICINE
WHILE RUNNING ILLEGAL HMO
*Defendant received publicity in Orange County Register feature article for “curing” so-called patients
SANTA ANA – An unlicensed man claiming to be a natural-medicine “doctor” was sentenced today for posing as a “doctor” and claiming to heal serious or incurable diseases including cancer and AIDS. Daryn Wayne Peterson, 37, Las Vegas, NV, pleaded guilty Dec. 8, 2009, to one felony count each of the unauthorized practice of medicine, operating a health care service plan (HMO) without a license, offering an unapproved drug for cancer treatment, and one misdemeanor count of selling misbranded food. Peterson was sentenced to five years of formal probation, 270 days in jail, and is prohibited from working in any medical field or selling any vitamins or pharmaceuticals for the duration of his probation.
On June 10, 2009, the Orange County Register published a color-picture article on the front page of the Life/Wellness section of the newspaper titled A rejection of Western medicine with subheading, Clients swear by natural treatments, but many others doubtful. An online version of the same story was posted the day before with the headline, ‘Natural doctor’ says he can cure cancer, AIDS.
The article featured Peterson, a self-proclaimed doctor, claiming to cure cancer and AIDS, and encouraging “patients” to cancel their health insurance policies. In the article, Peterson represented that his supplements have cured “cancer, AIDS, peanut allergies and heart failure.” That morning, alarmed by the potential health risks to the community and the recklessness of the article, the OCDA began an investigation into the matter.
The defendant practiced medicine without possessing any professional licenses issued by the State of California. In order to practice medicine in this State, a doctor must pass comprehensive medical exams and be licensed by the State of California to practice medicine and dispense prescriptions. Licensed California doctors are regulated by the California Medical Board to ensure the safe medical treatment of the public. Other medical professionals are governed by their own licensing boards and provide limits to their scope of practice.
Peterson falsely claimed to be a doctor with a PhD diploma from “Canterbury University.” OCDA Investigators determined that “Canterbury University” is not a real learning institution and were able to obtain the exact same PhD diploma from the same “Canterbury University” by paying $180 on the Internet.
Peterson operated Natural Health Care Organization (www.naturalhealthcoverage.com), a website offering “Natural Health Insurance” and claiming to provide pre-paid “subscribers” with unlimited access by email, telephone or in person to their “own Natural Doctor,” who has “success in stopping disease without drugs and surgery.” None of the purported “doctors” listed on the website are licensed to practice medicine in California. Peterson posted “testimonials” on the website, claiming to be from “patients,” asserting that Natural Health Care Organization “doctors” have cured diseases.