A La Mesa man accused of posing as a doctor has been charged with multiple felony counts of treating patients without a medical license, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis announced Wednesday.
According to the DA, defendant Keith Allen Barton, 50, claimed to be a doctor, promising patients he could cure cancer and HIV with some sort of unapproved remedy.
Barton was arrested after an investigation by the Medical Board of California’s Operation Safe Medicine Unit and San Diego DA’s office.
Investigators say Barton fraudulently referred to himself as “Dr. Barton.”
He claimed he could cure a woman and her children of HIV, charging the woman $18,000 for the supposed treatment. One of the woman’s children subsequently died as a result of not receiving effective treatment early on, the DA said.
Barton is not a licensed medical doctor. He does, however, share his name with a real medical doctor who is licensed in California. He allegedly used this fact to create the impression that he was a licensed professional in his plot to swindle patients, investigators said.
As a result, he is also being charged with identity theft and grand theft.
“By posing as doctor and charging thousands of dollars for a phony cure, this defendant showed callous disregard for his victims and the medical field,” DA Dumanis said. “Our Consumer Unit works to hold individuals who pose as physicians accountable for their actions and the harm done to their victims.”
On Wednesday Barton was arraigned in San Diego Superior Court on five felony counts.
He pleaded not guilty.
He faces up to five years and eight months in state prison if convicted of all charges.
Barton is currently in custody on $100,000 bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court for a readiness conference on Jan. 18 and then again for his preliminary hearing on Jan. 23.
The DA’s office believes there may be more victims involved in this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the DA’s office at (619) 531-3507 or the Medical Board at (800) 633-2322.