Claimed Naturopathic Doctor Sentenced to 75 months
BIRMINGHAM –A federal judge today sentenced a woman who falsely claimed to be a naturopathic doctor to 75 months for defrauding patients at a Hoover clinic in 2015, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala sentenced ISABEL KESARI GERVAIS, 61, on one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of making false statements. Gervais pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2017. She must forfeit $108,146 as proceeds of illegal activity.
“Through lies and deceit, this defendant took advantage of desperately ill people in Alabama and other states,” Town said. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did great work in uncovering this fraud and finding the evidence to make this case. Now, the fake doctor will spend deserved time in a real prison cell.”
“It is hard to comprehend the devastation and loss of hope victims feel after realizing that someone trusted to heal them was committing fraud against them," Gonzalez said. “Although this defendant operated her scheme for several years, when she decided to use the U.S. Postal Service to further her scam, she came to the attention of postal inspectors. We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the dedication and support it gave postal inspectors in bringing this pitiless scammer to justice.”
Using the alias, Dr. Rose Starr, Gervais defrauded patients at the Euro Med Klinic by lying about her name, her credentials, her experience, her license to practice medicine, and the services she could provide.
As part of Gervais’ guilty plea, she acknowledged that over the last 15 years she operated multiple clinics in Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas and Kansas using her current name and various aliases that often employed different spellings of the name Debra Lynn Goodman. The clinics included Sagewood Medical Clinic in Montgomery and Springdale, Ark., the Chiron Clinic in Marietta, Ga., DRI Enterprises in Atlanta, Ascension Medical Health in various locations in Arkansas, and AMHC in Leawoood, Kan. At all the clinics, Gervais falsely represented herself as a licensed doctor with extensive experience and various degrees who used naturopathic medicine to cure people of various illnesses, including cancer.
The Alabama and Arkansas medical boards investigated her fraudulent activity; Arkansas state authorities prosecuted her; and she has faced civil monetary claims and actions in multiple states, but until today, she has never been sentenced to significant prison time. To avoid legal action and detection, Gervais had abandoned rental properties, changed locations, changed business names and adopted aliases.
Gervais opened the Euro Med Klinic in Hoover in 2015 as Dr. Starr, claiming she had years of experience and was licensed to practice medicine in Alabama and throughout the world. She promised patients, including cancer sufferers, at the Hoover clinic that she could provide various medical services, including DNA tests that she did not have the technology to conduct, according to court records. Gervais ran some tests on patients, prescribed various substances and, through her misrepresentations about licensure and qualifications, fraudulently induced patients to pay her thousands of dollars.
Gervais misappropriated the identity of one patient at the Hoover clinic in order to charge the patient’s credit card without consent. She also misappropriated the identity of another individual and used it fraudulently to set up a post office box, according to court records.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Williamson Barnes prosecuted.