Chiropractor’s License Revoked after Being Accused of Sexual Assault
MICHIGAN: A chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting his patients has had his license immediately suspended. Dr. Fernando Ponce has been arraigned and charged on criminal sexual conduct charges on allegations of assaulting three of his patients. The Michigan Department of Community Health ordered the suspension on Feb. 12, and says an administrative hearing regarding Ponce’s license will be scheduled at a later time.
Chiropractor Convicted for Failure to File Tax Returns
NEW YORK: A federal jury, in late February, returned a verdict of guilty against John Weisberg on three counts of willfully failing to file individual tax returns.
Weisberg, a chiropractor owning his own business in East Aurora, New York, was charged with four counts of willfully failing to file tax returns for the tax years 2000 through 2003. The jury was unable to reach a verdict concerning his failure to file for the 2002 tax year. Each count of conviction is punishable by a maximum term of one year imprisonment, one year of supervised release, a $25,000 fine, and the costs of prosecution.
Evidence introduced during trial showed that Weisberg, in 1997, became a member-client of a Florida-based organization known as American Rights Litigators. ARL supposedly promoted multiple tax fraud schemes. Weisberg purchased an ARL service by which ARL-affiliated lawyers and accountants, on Weisberg’s behalf, responded to IRS notices seeking his returns. The letters to the IRS allegedly advanced false and frivolous claims and requests purporting to set forth legal reasons why the defendant was not required to file.
At trial, Weisberg claimed that he had relied upon the legal and accounting advice of ARL in not filing returns, as well as the IRS’s failure to respond to ARL’s claims and requests over the course of seven years. However, the evidence at trial showed, among other things, that Weisberg knew he had a duty to file tax returns, and that he used ARL as a means to obstruct and impede the IRS, and that he was advised of his legal duty to file returns not only by the IRS, but also by Buffalo-area accountants and attorneys.
Chiropractor convicted, but no fraud verdict
KENTUCKY: Dr. Paul Hollern, who once ran a chiropractor-training empire from Louisville, was convicted on February 8 of illegal eavesdropping for videotaping patients without their knowledge.
But the jury could not reach a verdict on a charge of health-care fraud, the main offense alleged against Hollern. Prosecutors maintained he taught young chiropractors to sell patients on unnecessary services by lying about X-rays.
Jurors in U.S. District Court also deadlocked on whether Hollern retaliated against a whistle-blowing witness by telling his neighbors he was involved in child pornography.
They acquitted him on a fourth charge, violating a patient-privacy law.
The charges stemmed from the operation of Uncle Paul Chiropractic Business Training, a business Hollern operated in southern Louisville that was attended by young chiropractors from around the country.
Doctors videotaped their meetings with patients and reviewed the tapes later to critique their performance—or, as the prosecution termed it, their sales techniques.
Hollern, who no longer practices, faces up to five years in prison on the electronic eavesdropping charge.
He said the jury’s failure to convict him of the fraud charge “shows that there’s nothing there.” He has said the charges stem from a vendetta by a disgruntled former employee who lied to investigators about his training program.
Hollern remained free on bond after the verdict. Judge Charles R. Simpson III said he would not sentence him until prosecutors decide whether to retry the two counts that deadlocked the jury.
Following a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for three days before telling Simpson they could not decide the two counts.
Standard Process Pays $500,000 to Name Logan College Student Center
MISSOURI: Logan College of Chiropractic announced in early February its new student center will be named the Standard Process Student Center after Wisconsin-based Standard Process Inc., which donated $500,000 to Logan for the naming rights.
The $3.5 million student center is being built within the space previously occupied by the school’s gymnasium.
“I’ve been impressed with the major improvements on the Logan campus over the past several years,” Charles DuBois, president of Standard Process, said in a statement. “I’m excited about this opportunity to attach the Standard Process name to Logan’s new student center, which will be a fun, lively and energetic place for students to gather. I also see this gift as a way for Standard Process to thank today’s students as they study chiropractic and whole food nutrition.”
Construction on the 6,500-square-foot building at the school’s campus in Chesterfield is scheduled for completion in May 2008.
St. Louis Business Journal