Fake Doctor Is Sentenced to 121/2 Years in Prison for Fraud, Money Laundering

April 15, 2008

A federal judge today sentenced John E. Curran, a self-styled “natural healer” who also presented himself as a medical doctor, to 150 months in prison for fraud and money laundering. In May, a federal jury found that Curran used misleading diagnostic techniques to sell treatment plans and products.

United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the sentence, which U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed in U.S. District Court, Providence.

During the trial in May, Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos presented evidence that Curran sold clients a total of about $1.4 million worth of treatment and products after falsely diagnosing a variety of ailments.

The evidence showed that Curran told clients that they had “live parasites” in their blood, that they had severely reduced blood cell counts, or that their immune system was ruined. He told clients that they had or would develop life-threatening diseases or were near death. He falsely claimed in a brochure and other media that he had cured a patient of cancer.

Curran sold what he called “E-water,” which he touted as having the same “synergistic healing properties as the water in Lourdes, France.” He also sold what he called the “Green Drink,” which he said contained “a synergistic blend of all natural compounds that support and promote the body’s overall ability to fight and prevent disease.” He claimed to have formulated the Green Drink himself but the evidence showed that it was actually a commercially available dietary supplement that Curran bought from a distributor.

To execute his scheme, Curran made false claims about his qualifications, educational background and training in order to foster a belief that he was both a naturopath and a medical doctor. He touted mail order degrees, which he prominently displayed in his office at Richmond Square in Providence. For instance, in 2004, Curran bought three back-dated degrees from Chatworth College of Health Sciences for $2,650.

Curran, 41, was convicted of 18 counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.

Judge Lisi scheduled a second sentencing hearing for October 12 to determine an appropriate fine and the amount of restitution Curran must pay to his victims. Curran was taken into custody after being sentenced today.

Curran also forfeited to the government treatment machines that he used to promote his scheme and about $15,000 in a Citizens bank account in the name of his business, the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing.

The investigation into Curran’s activities was a joint effort of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FDA Task Force and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

This page was posted on April 15, 2008.