Indictment Charges “Natural Healer” with Fraud
U.S. Department of Justice News Release
September 16, 2005
A federal grand jury has charged John E. Curran, who presented himself as a “natural healer,” with fraud, alleging that he used misleading diagnostic techniques to sell people more than $1,000,000 worth of treatment programs.
United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente and Mark Dragonetti, Resident Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, announced a 23-count indictment, which the grand jury returned today in U.S. District Court, Providence.
According to the indictment, operating first as Rhode Island Health Aid, and later as the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Healing, located at Richmond Square, Providence, Curran led his clients to believe that he was a medical doctor. In that guise, he allegedly conducted fraudulent diagnostic tests, telling various clients that they had “live parasites” in their blood, severely reduced blood cell counts, and “holes” in their blood. He also told clients that they would develop life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, and that he could cure them of life-threatening diseases.
Between January 2003, and December 2004, Curran allegedly provided fraudulent services to approximately 354 customers. He allegedly subjected them to tests such as a live blood analysis and a “bio-meridian stress analysis,” and induced them to pay a total of approximately $1,410,095 for treatments and services.
As part of his treatment programs, Curran sold what he called “E-Water,” which he billed as containing the same “synergistic healing properties as the water in Lourdes, France.” He allegedly claimed that it was “uniquely charged water wherein the molecules spin in reverse direction and emit electrical energy.” According to the indictment, the E-Water was essentially distilled water that Curran processed through a specialized blender.
Another liquid that Curran sold was called the “Green Drink,” which he marketed as a nutritional supplement containing “a synergistic blend of all natural compounds that support and promote the body’s overall ability to fight and prevent disease.”
On Web sites promoting his business, Curran allegedly advertised that he could diagnose or treat such diseases as arthritis, cancer, cerebral palsey (sic), multiple sclerosis, cancer, hepatitis, and diabetes.
To execute his scheme, Curran allegedly made “misleading and fraudulent representations to the public” about his qualifications, educational background, and training in order to foster a belief that he was a medical doctor. Among his alleged ruses:
- He claimed to have received a medical degree from St. Luke’s School of Medicine, which, according to the indictment, is an on-line, unaccredited program located in Liberia;
- He represented that he had several degrees from Chatworth College of Health Sciences;
- He identified himself in promotional materials as “Dr. John Curran, N.D., M.D.,” and wore a name tag in his office bearing the titles “Dr.,” “N.D.” and “M.D.;”
- He obtained, for $2,650, a “Ph.D” degree from the Chatworth College of Natural Health and Nutritional Science.
According to the indictment, Curran induced his customers to engage in treatment protocols that included: a “hydrotherapy massage machine,” a “spectra color spa system,” a “hyperbaric chamber,” a “hydro massager,” and an “iconic cleaner.”
The indictment charges Curran with 19 counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. An indictment is merely an allegation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for money laundering is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property used in the transaction.
In two forfeiture allegations, the indictment seeks the forfeiture of various assets, including Curran’s diagnostic machines and about $15,821 in an account at Citizens bank.
Federal agents arrested Curran, 40, of 66 Falcon Ridge Drive, Exeter, today. He will be held over the weekend pending arraignment Monday in U.S. District Court, Providence.
Curren's activities were investigated by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the FDA Task Force, and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luis M. Matos and Lisa Dinerman are prosecuting the case. For further infrmation, contact: Thomas Connell at 401-709-5032.This page was posted on June 13, 2006.