SAN DIEGO - A man accused of posing as a doctor and promising patients he could cure cancer and HIV pleaded not guilty Wednesday to multiple felony counts of treating people without a license, along with identity theft and grand theft charges.
Keith Allen Barton, 50, was ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Authorities allege the defendant called himself "Dr. Barton" and promised to cure a woman and her children of HIV.
One of the children subsequently died as a result of not receiving effective treatment, for which the mother paid Barton $18,000, prosecutors allege.
According to authorities, Barton is not a licensed medical doctor, osteopath or naturopath but shares his name with a real medical doctor who is licensed in California.
Barton allegedly used the fact that only his middle name differed from the real Dr. Barton to create the impression that he was a licensed professional.
"By posing as a doctor and charging thousands of dollars for a phony cure, this defendant showed callous disregard for his victims and the medical field," said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "Our Consumer Unit works to hold individuals who pose as physicians accountable for their actions and the harm done to their victims."
Barton was arrested Tuesday, and authorities think there may be more alleged victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact the District Attorney's Office at (619) 531-3507.
"This case is a reminder that consumers need to be particularly wary of unapproved `miracle' cures, especially when they are offered by practitioners who run clinics south of the border," said prosecutor Gina Darvas.
In a similar case prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office, Kathleen Helms, a San Diego woman who posed as a doctor and offered patients non-FDA-approved DMSO infusions as alternative remedies for auto-immune disorders pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
And last year, 75-year-old Walter Donsbach pleaded guilty to practicing medicine without a license and selling misbranded drugs.