The Rhode Island Department of Health has suspended the health care practice of John E. Curran for falsely portraying himself as a physician and naturopath. Curran has operated as the Rhode Island Health Aid in Cranston, Rhode Island and the Northeastern Institute for Advance Natural Healing in Providence, Rhode Island. For several years, his now-defunct Web site stated that he has a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degree from the American Institute of Natural Healing; a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD) degree from the Southern College of Naturopathic Medicine; Doctor of Medicine (Alternative Medicine) (ND, AM) from the Southern Graduate Institute; and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the St. Luke School of Medicine. The site also claimed that he was “certified” by Brown University Medical School, Duke University Medical School, and Harvard University Medical School. However: (a) none of his “degrees” came from accredited institutions; (b) medical schools do not “certify” people; and (c) none of his credentials provide a legal basis to treat patients. One of his diagnostic programs was a “Complete Body Assessment” that cost $950 and included “an in-depth consultation regarding your health history and nutritional diet, BioMeridian Stress Assessment, Food testing (250 foods), Iridology, Chinese Tongue and Nail Analysis, Urinalysis, Blood Oxygen Level Testing, Heart and Lung evaluations, and a Full Body Thermography Scan.” His “treatment” offerings included the use of several quack devices. The affidavit below, whch suggests that Curren will face prosecution for mail and wire fraud, was submitted in support of a seizure that was executed in June 2005. Naturowatch has additional information.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND
|IN THE MATTER OF THE SEIZURE
OF ONE HYDROTHERAPY MASSAGE
TABLE; ONE VITAERIS 320
HYPERBARIC CHAMBER; ONE
SPECTRACOLOR SPA SYSTEM; AND
ONE THERMAL IMAGING UNIT
LOCATED AT WHOLE SELF
SOLUTIONS, 110 MAIN ST.,
EAST GREENWICH, RI
MISC NO. 1:05M69M
I, Jason A. Simonian, being duly sworn, hereby depose and state as follows:
1. I am a Special Agent of the United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), assigned to the Boston Resident Office. I have been employed by FDA-OCI since September of 1996. Prior to that, I was employed as a Special Agent for the United States Department of Labor for approximately 8 years. As an FDA-OCI Special Agent, I conduct investigations into suspected violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and other statutes enforced by the FDA.
2. This affidavit is submitted in support of a seizure warrant for certain pieces of equipment, described in detail below, currently being utilized by John Curran, Whole Self Solutions, 110 Main Street, East Greenwich, Rhode Island. (Formerly the Northeastern Institute of Advanced Natural Healing, One Richmond Square, Suite 310, East Providence, Rhode Island). Your affiant’s investigation has determined that the equipment being sought for seizure is currently located within the premises of 110 Main Street, East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where it was apparently moved after the execution of a search warrant on January 7, 2005, at the One Richmond Square, Providence, Rhode Island location. The particular items for which a seizure warrant is sought are described as follows:
- One Hydrotherapy Massage Table manufactured by Sidmar Manufacturing, Inc., Princeton, Minnesota, serial number 038-14260;
- One Vitaeris 320 Hyperbaric Chamber manufactured by Vita 02 Inc, Dawsonville, Georgia;
- One Spectracolor Spa System manufactured by Sybartic, Inc.; and
- One Thermal Imaging Unit manufactured by Teletherm Inc.
3. Since April of 2004, your affiant and investigators from the FDA/OCI Task Force, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), with assistance from the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) have conducted an investigation of Dr. John E. Curran, a Naturopath whose practice, The Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing, operates at the address of One Richmond Square, Suite 310-E, Providence, Rhode Island. The facts detailed in your affiant’s affidavit of January 6, 2005 (which is attached hereto and made a part hereof) indicate that there is probable cause that Dr. Curran has engaged in mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Â 1341; wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Â 1343; and money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. Â 1956(a)(l)(A)(i) in connection with his inducement of patients to purchase expensive treatment plans and/or alleged nutritional or therapeutic materials in order to cure them of alleged actual or imminent diseases that Curran claims to have diagnosed.
4. Although he is not qualified to diagnose diseases, Curran advises his patients, among other things, that: (1) they have live parasites in their blood stream; (2) that they have a severely reduced number of blood cells; (3) that they have certain deficient body functions; (4) that they have worms in their blood; (5) that they have holes in their blood; and (6) that they have a life threatening disease. As described in the attached affidavit of January 6, 2005, Curran provides the majority of his diagnoses by performing a live blood analysis or a bio-meridian test, neither of which is designed to diagnose disease. Upon providing a patient with the diagnoses, Curran promotes and sells the use of his treatment programs or alleged pharmacological materials, the cost of which ranges from approximately $200 to $10,000. Curran accepts cash, checks or credit cards, or, alternatively, promotes a credit service provided by GE Capital that will provide his patients with a line of credit to purchase his services. The line of credit is referred to as a “Credit Care Card.” Examples of what he sells are products referred to as “E-water”, and a “super green drink”.
5. As is indicated in the attached affidavit, Curran has been conducting diagnoses of this type since 1997, when his business was known as Rhode Island Health Aid. In July 2002, Curran changed the name of the business to the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing and he moved it to the Richmond Square address referenced above.
6. As described in the attached affidavit at paragraphs 104 and 105, the receipts (including the receipts from Currants fraudulent activities) from the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing including those received from GE Capital’s “Creditcare” card are deposited into Citizens Bank Account No. 1452-751-0.
7. On January 7, 2005, a search warrant was executed at One Richmond Square, Suite 310-E, Providence, Rhode Island. (see search warrant and affidavit of January 6, 2005 attached hereto and made a part hereof). During the search, various records of The Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing were seized. Your affiant has reviewed in excess of 600 client files seized during the execution of the search warrant including dozens of patient files originating in 2001-2002 for which both the “E-Water” and “Green Drink” were sold to clients.
Additionally, that review has identified clients from 1997 through the time of the execution of the search warrant as being diagnosed with various blood abnormalities/parasitic conditions that Curran was not qualified to diagnose.
8. On the same day as the search, a seizure warrant was executed for Citizen’s Bank Account No. 1452-751-0 in the name of the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing and $15,821.57 was seized from the account.
9. Records obtained during the search, interviews, and the review of other information by your affiant indicate the following with respect to the assets listed in paragraph 2 above:
a) Representatives of Sidmar Manufacturing, Inc., Princeton, Minnesota, advised your affiant that John Curran purchased the Hydrotherapy Massage table described in paragraph 2(a) above, on April 15, 2003, for $3,308.93 utilizing a Visa card with an account number of 4352375023440441. Investigation by your affiant has determined that the Visa card was issued by Target, Inc. and is held in the name of John Curran, ND, MD. Additionally, your affiant has reviewed documents taken from the Northeast Institute for Advanced Natural Healing that have identified that card on a list of business creditn cards utilized by the company. Additionally, your affiant has reviewed bills for charges made on the Target Visa card. Your affiant’s review has revealed that such bills were paid by utilizing funds from Citizens Bank account #4352375023440441 held in the name of John Curran, N.D., MD, Northeastern Institute of Advanced Natural Healing Inc.
b) Your affiant has conducted a partial review of statements from American Express – Business Platinum Card, Account number 3727-150577-83006, held in the name of “Dr. John Exurran, The Northeast Institute”, One Richmond Square, Suite 310-E, Providence, Rhode Island. The review identified charges being made payable to various corporations engaged in providing products and devices utilized by Dr. John E. Curran and the Northeastern Institute of Advanced Natural Healing in the furtherance of a scheme to defraud. In particular, on June 13, 2003, John Curran purchased the Vitaeris 320 Hyperbaric Chamber described in paragraph 2(b) above, from the manufacturer, Vita 02 Inc., Dawsonville, Georgia, for $20,205.00. A charge of $20,205.00 by Vita 02 Inc. appears on the American Express card statement which has a closing date of July 24, 2003. The charge item contains a description of “Medical Equipment/Supply”. The July 24, 2003 American Express charge account statement indicates a total balance due of $41,464.92 of which $42,027.50 consists of new charges made between the previous closing date and July 24, 2003. A $21,446.82 payment was made to American Express by check no. 212 dated August 8, 2003 from Citizens Bank account no. 4352375023440441 held in the name of John Curran, N.D., MD, or the astern Institute of Advanced Natural Healing, Inc. The American Express charge account statement with a closing date of August 23, 2003, indicates that this payment was received and credited on August 11, 2003. The August 23, 2003 American Express charge account statement further indicates that an additional payment was made on August 8, 2003, in the amount of $20,000 through a balance payment option loan (contract no. 7080385648001). An analysis of the financial records of the Northeastern Institute of Advanced Natural Healing indicates that payments were made toward this loan contract by utilizing funds from the aforementioned Citizens Bank account #4352375023440441.
c) Representatives of Sybaritic, Inc. in Bloomington, Minnesota, have also advised your affiant that on June 15, 2003, The Northeastern Institute for Advanced ~atural Healing purchased the Spectracolor Spa System, described in paragraph 2(c) above, for $10,690.00, utilizing the American Express charge account number 3727-150577-83006, referenced above. A charge of $10,690.00 by Symedex, LLC (a company that processes purchases for Sybaritic) on June 16, 2003, appears on the American Express card statement with a closing date of June 23, 2003. The June 23, 2003 American Express charge account statement also indicates a total balance due of $38,127.87, of which $38,628.21 consists of new charges made between the previous closing date and June 23, 2003. A $38,127.87 payment was made to American Express by check number 2039, dated July 3, 2003 from the aforementioned Citizens Bank account no. 4352375023440441. The American Express charge account statement with a closing date of July 24, 2003, indicates that this payment was received and credited on July 8, 2003.
d) On April 18, 2005, your affiant spoke with Graham Rockley, Director of Operations for Teletherm, 1680 Curiew Road, Dunedin, FL 34697. Rockley indicated that John Curran ordered the Thermal Imaging Unit, described in paragraph 2(d) above, from Teletherm in late 2002. According to Rockley, Curran paid for the unit by sending him a check dated December 31, 2002, in the amount of $19,500. The check, which I obtained as a result of the search, was numbered 5080, dated December 31, 2002, made payable to Teletherm Infrared, and was written on the aforementioned Citizens Bank account no. 4352375023440441 in the amount of $19,500. In the memo portion of the check “Teletherm Infrared Unit” was written.
10. On April 6, 2005, OCI Task Force Agent (TFA) Alan Ross, acting in an undercover capacity, entered 110 Main St., East Greenwich Rhode Island immediately after observing John Curran and a person who has been identified as Colleen Brophy, enter the premises through a door on the side of the building marked with a number “4.” Immediately upon entering the building, TFA Ross entered into an office location where he was met by Colleen Brophy. Brophy handed Ross a business card that identified her as Colleen R. Brophy. TFA Ross asked Brophy if he was in the office of “Intuitive Touch Massage Therapy1′ that was advertised on the outside of the building. Brophy advised TFA Ross that he was not, but that “Dr. Currants office works closely with the owner, Jennifer Denise Givan”, whose business is on the second floor.
11. TFA Ross advised that upon entering the office, he observed a reception counter immediately to the left. Directly behind the counter he observed a “therapy” room with a large glass window that allows visitors to see into the room and observe the machines and devices used. Prior to TFA Ross’s to Currants new office, your affiant had shown TFA Ross photographs of the three machines, which are described in visit paragraphs 2a, 2b, and 2c above. TFA Ross has advised your affiant that he was able to verify that those machines are located in the “therapy” room of the new office. TFA Ross advised that the machines were in plain sight and observable through the glass observation in the office space.
12. On April 21, 2005, TFA Ross called the telephone number for the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing and an answering machine provided him with the telephone number for Whole Self Solutions. Ross called the number and asked if thermal imaging was still being offered on site. The female who answered the phone at Whole Self Solutions indicated that thermal imaging was still being offered but would not be available until May 1, 2005 because the software was being updated. Your affiant is aware that the computer containing the software for the Thermal Imaging Unit described in paragraph 2(d) was seized during the execution of the search warrant on January 7, 2005.
13. Based upon the foregoing, there is probable cause to believe that the machines described in paragraph 2 were purchased with the proceeds of mail fraud and wire fraud and are, therefore, subject to seizure and forfeiture pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 5 981(a) (1) (C).
JASON A. SIMONIAN, Special Agent
Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this 22nd day of April, 2005 at
Providence, Rhode Island.
DAVID L. MARTIN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This article was posted on July 1, 2005.