A Payson man faces multiple charges after authorities say he posed as a doctor for years, performing hundreds of medical procedures out of his basement and “endangering the lives of multiple patients,” according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Authorities say the man had been providing supposed medical services and selling medications without a license from his home on the 1000 block of 580 West, near Payson Junior High School. He saw people only on a referral basis, and only under the condition that they were in the U.S. illegally, according to a probable cause statement.
In May, the Payson Police Department received a tip from a person who reported that they had been “permanently disfigured” by the 65-year-old’s services, according to the probable cause statement. Court documents do not specify what type of procedure resulted in the disfigurement.
An undercover agent went to the man’s house in Payson in September, where the man “diagnosed” the agent with multiple sclerosis, the statement reads. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system and can’t be cured, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, although its progression and symptoms can be managed with medications and physical therapy.
The man told the agent that he could cure the multiple sclerosis, but said the agent would have to keep the medical procedures confidential, the probable cause statement reads. According to authorities, the man then said his services would cost the agent thousands of dollars in cash and that he would conduct the procedures in his home.
On Tuesday, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the man’s home, where they found medical equipment and supplies, medications, $140,000 in cash, medical records going back several years, and fraudulent identification documents.
“People paid thousands of dollars each, partly because undocumented workers often distrust the traditional system,” said Brendan Call, section chief of the Utah Attorney General’s Office Investigations Division. “And in these cases, he was carelessly and repeatedly putting their lives at risk.”
The Utah attorney general’s SECURE strike force (which stands for Statewide Enforcement of Crimes Against Undocumented Residents) arrested the man Tuesday, and the Payson Police Department assisted with the investigation and arrest.
The man faces charges that include unlawful/unprofessional conduct; selling, dispensing or trafficking prescription drugs; forgery; and communications fraud. He is being held without bail and is considered a flight risk as well as a “substantial danger” to the community and additional vulnerable individuals, according to court documents.
A detective in the probable cause statement wrote that the investigation is ongoing and that the attorney general’s office may file additional charges.
Individuals who may have sought treatment from the man may call the attorney general’s office at 801-281-1200.