Jury Finds “Natural Healer” Guilty
of Fraud, Money Laundering
U.S. Department of Justice News Release
District of Rhode Island
May 26, 2006
A federal jury today found John E. Curran, who presented himself as a “natural healer,” guilty of fraud and money laundering. The jury found that Curran used misleading diagnostic techniques to sell people treatment plans and products. United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the verdict, which the jury returned today in U.S. District Court, Providence, after a seven-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi and about seven hours of deliberation.
During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos presented evidence that Curran, operating as a naturopath, or natural healer, posed as a medical doctor and sold clients a total of about $1.3 million worth of treatment and products after falsely diagnosing a variety of ailments.
The evidence showed that Curran told clients variously 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 claimed that it was “uniquely charged water wherein the molecules spin in reverse direction and emit electrical energy.” 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, one of which Assistant U.S. Attorney Matos called a “doc in a box” degree, and prominently displayed them 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.
The jury found Curran guilty of 18 counts of wire fraud and 3 counts of money laundering. The maximum penalty for each count of wire fraud and money laundering is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The jury also found that Curran should forfeit to the government treatment machines that he used to promote his scheme and about $15,000,000 in a Citizens bank account in the name of his business, the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Natural Healing.
Following the verdicts, Judge Lisi continued Curran on court-monitored home confinement pending sentencing, which is scheduled for August 25.
The investigation 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. For further information contact Thomas O'Connell at (401) 709-5032.
This page was posted on June 13, 2006.