A man was arrested in Southern California on Friday for posing as a specialist in alternative cancer treatments and prescribing fake drugs to a patient. He is now faced with charges of unlawful medical practice, abusing of elderly or dependent adults and offering drugs without license.
69-year old El Cerrito resident Vincent Gammill had a website running for several years in which he claimed that he could natural cancer treatments which would less damaging to the organism and have a higher chance of curing the disease. He claimed he was a legit medical practitioner, even having an office for a fake “Natural Oncology Institute” in Richmond.
This was enough to convince a 49-year old Thousand Oaks woman to end chemotherapy and enlist his help to fight the disease. Unfortunately for her, the self-claimed “alternative medicine guru” was only interested in scamming her – she travelled to the fake clinic, where she was held for three days and charged $2,000.
Gammill offered her a combination of powders, empty capsules, expired commercial medicine with Russian labels and even a bag of dirt, according to investigators. He also reportedly claimed nonsensical facts such as one of the compounds being powerful enough to burn through a wooden table. He proceeded to also show her how to mix the medicine in a frying pan.
The woman, who only wished to identify herself as Fern to ABC reporters, realized that this was a hoax and alerted local authorities. The case was taken by federal agencies, whose joint pharmaceutical crimes unit investigated Gammill and found no records of him ever receiving a medical license.
The suspect’s claims also contradicted themselves, as he initially told investigators that he had not attended any post-high school education, retracting on the statement and later claiming to having earned a doctor of science degree in the 90s.
Gammill is scheduled for trial in the Ventura County Superior Court at the end of August. Investigators searched his Richmond office and reportedly found over 20,000 prescription pills, such as morphine, Ambien and steroids, together with foreign drugs and cheap lab equipment. Many of the drugs were past their expiration date.
The fake cancer doctor reportedly denied all charges to KNTV reporters, claiming that he doesn’t treat patients, but rather offers them a program which they have the liberty of refusing to follow. He also denied allegations about offering expired medicine and dirt to the woman and stated that she probably wants to be in the spotlight.
Update: The initial version of this article featured the word “naturist” in its tile and content. We thank out readers for pointing out the misuse of the term and we apologize to those who might have been offended by the content.
Image Source: natural-oncology.org