The “British West Indies Medical College” Scam


Stephen Barrett, M.D.
November 10, 2013

Gregory E. Caplinger died in 2009 while serving a 12-year prison sentence for fraud and money laundering in connection with a cancer scam [1]. Among other things, he claimed to have a medical degree from the British West Indies Medical College (BWIMC) in the Dominican Republic. It turned out, however, that he founded and directed the “school” and issued the diploma to himself.

In the early 1990s, Caplinger began offering to provide chiropractors with a pathway to a medical degree that was expensive but required minimal effort. Some students may have attended BWIMC for a few weeks of lectures, but it is clear that the school had no qualified faculty and did provided no real medical education. According to a report in Dynamic Chiropractic:

  • Caplinger pretended to operate two entities: the “British West Indies Medical College” and the “Universidad Federico Henriquez Y Carvajal,” to which students would supposedly transfer after nine weeks of preparatory coursework.
  • At various times, Caplinger claimed to be president; dean; chairman of the Dept. of Internal Medicine; chairman of the Dept. of Immunology; and Administrator, Chief Dept. of Oncology/Immunology.
  • In 1996, he was arrested in Broward County, Florida, on ten counts of racketeering (RICO) and grand theft.
  • More than 120 individuals had paid him several thousands dollars each.
  • In 1997, the charges were dismissed after Caplinger agreed to make partial restitution [2].

You might think that the above circumstances would discourage other people from claiming to be BWIMC graduates. However, I have found four:

  • Joel Robbins is a licensed chiropractor who operates the Health & Wellness Clinic of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Robbins, also has a bogus naturopathic “degree” from a diploma mill called the Anglo-American Institute of Drugless Therapy [3].
  • James Edward Kellogg directs the physical therapy department at the Laser Spine Institute (LSI) in Tampa, Florida. He has valid degrees in physical therapy and chiropractic and is licensed to practice both. However, during the summer of 2006, the Laser Spine Institute Web site briefly represented him as “James Kellogg, M.D.” based on his alleged BWIMC medical degree [4]. A clinic representative notified me that listing him as an M.D. was inadvertant error caused by miscommunication between LSI and the individual who wrote copy for their Web site and was not intended to mislead anyone that he was a medical doctor licensed iin Florida.
  • John W. Apsley, II describes himself on his Web site as “a physician and researchers who has specialized in the rehabilitation and reversal of chronic diseases hrough accelerated tissue epair and cellular regeneration.” The CV on his site states that he received a BS in Nutrition from Donsbach Uiversity [a nonaccredited correspondence school] in 1981, a chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College in 1984, and a “Doctor of Eclectic Medicine – MB(E)” from BWIMC in 1986 and has been licensed as a chiropractor in North Carolina and an Acupuncturist in Alabama. He is not currently listed in the license databases of either state.
  • Laurence Perry is an unlicensed naturopath who operated a clinic in West Virginia for many years. In 2002, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license following the death of an eight-year-old diabetic child whose mother followed Parry’s advice to stop administering insulin [5].

The documents gathered by Perry’s prosecutor included one from BWIMC which stated that “On the 20th day of March 1987, his degree of “Doctor of Medicine in Homeopathic and Eclectic Medicine (M.D.E.) was granted with honors.” Perry’s “transcript” stated that he matriculated on 3/20/86 and graduated one year later after completing 5 “terms” of classes totaling 540 hours of course work, 6 clinical rotations totaling 2000 hours, 3 dissertations (760 hours), 2 research papers, and an oral examination. None of this was possible, of course because he lived and worked in South Carolina during that year. The address for the school was given as “c/o American Nutritional Medical Association, 1326 Dearborn Street, Gary Indiana.” The AMNA, founded in 1983, was an elaborate “paper conglomerate” that issued scores of different phony credentials [6]. Caplinger claimed to be a senior AMNA vice president in charge of legal affairs and credential services. The Indiana address suggests that BWIMC was hatched in 1987 or earlier as part of AMNA’s credential scheme.

References

  1. Gregory Caplinger and his cancer scam. Quackwatch, July 12, 2009.
  2. Kelly S. DCs lured to foreign medical school. Dubious goings-on down Santo Domingo Way. Dynamic Chiropractic Archives, Jan 1, 1993.
  3. Whole-istic Solutions bios page. Whole-istic Solutions Web site, accessed July 4, 2006.
  4. Laser Spine Institute Doctors. Laser Spine Institute Web site, accessed July 3, 2006.
  5. Bogus naturopath (Laurence Perry) convicted of manslaughter. Quackwatch, April 16, 2002.
  6. Barrett S. American Nutrimedical Association. Quackwatch, April 16, 2002.

This page was revised on November 10, 2013.