Doctor Faces Criminal Charges for Selling Herbal Cures To Cancer Patients

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , October 13, 2009

A Los Angeles area physician faces five counts of federal fraud after a seven-year investigation alleged she sold more than $1 million in herbal "cancer cure" concoctions to as many as 55 patients around the country.

Christine Daniel, MD, of Mission Hills, CA, was arrested last week on charges that she used her position as a Pentecostal Minister and her appearances on a religious television show, "Praise the Lord," to make false claims about her product, which she called "C-Extract," according to the 71-page indictment.

The indictment accuses Daniel of telling many cancer patients to forego cancer treatments because chemotherapy "did no good" or "didn't work." Instead, she marketed her remedies to the "Evangelical Christian Community," saying they would work along with prayer, according to the document.

She is charged with setting up an elaborate scheme to acquire, mix, and package ingredients from caffeine, meat flavoring, celery seed, and other "botanical" products to desperate patients and their families, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court.

The documents described 25 patients who were persuaded to travel across the country and stay in Los Angeles area motels in order to receive the treatments starting in early 2001. Some patients and their families paid a range of prices between $1,050 and $6,375 for a month's supply, and some were persuaded to spend $20,000, and in one case, $61,956.

Daniel was released from jail Friday on $150,000 bond. She is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 19, according to spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, Thom Mrozek. Mrozek said Daniel faces 30-year prison terms for each count.

The indictment says in part, "By deceiving victims into paying money based on the above misrepresentations, defendant Daniel and employees working at her direction induced approximately 55 victims to send in excess of $1.1 million to the Sonrise Medical Facilities."

Patients who saw her show on national Trinity Broadcasting Network show, "Praise the Lord," heard her state that her "array of herbs" that are made in her laboratory "combined with prayer" had resulted in a "60% cure rate for the lowest level we have."

For cancer sufferers who could afford another treatment that may last longer, and was more expensive, the cure rate was said to be 80%, according to the federal documents.

"We have people that have bone metastasis, lung metastasis, and metastasis to the pericardium. We have a lady from Michigan; she had stage 4B spread of breast cancer to her brain, within two weeks, the tumor marker dropped to normal," the documents allege her to have claimed.

She also made the statement, "I have not really found radiation to be effective, maybe in certain cases."

After persuading some of the patients against undergoing chemotherapy, several patients died within weeks or months later, according to the accusation.

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