Fake doctor receives 20-month sentence

SAN DIEGO - Kathleen Helms was once considered by her patients to be on the forefront of alternative medicine, helping to heal them with non-traditional health care treatments for Lyme disease. That was, until her arrest for practicing without a medical license.

"When you recommend things that are dangerous and that have serious consequences for people's health, that crosses the line into the criminal territory," said prosecutor Gina Darvas.

Helms was first arrested in 2012. That is when she told 10News in a jailhouse interview that her arrest was an FBI conspiracy.

"They go in and take them shut them down, hold them at gunpoint and take everything away," she said during the interview.

Two years later, she is still declaring her innocence.

She was arrested last month at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. She was practicing medicine in Tijuana under a different name: Sandee Boyko.

10News was told that inside the courtroom Tuesday, she presented the court with a 13-page document: a letter explaining her views on the case and her arrests.

"One of them almost died from the treatment," Darvas added.

Darvas explained many of Helms' patients did not even have Lyme disease and became more ill when she tried to infuse them with bovine stem cells from Germany.

The FBI says Helms advised her patients to go to Tijuana to have a catheter inserted in their arm so she could give them expensive, experimental treatments intravenously.

"Our victims were very credible and very clear and concise with what they said," added Darvas.

Helms was sentenced to 16-months behind bars plus an additional 102 days for violating her parole.

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