A California man is accused of scamming at least one cancer patient at a fake treatment office, prescribing expired pills, powders and a “baggie of dirt” to one woman desperate for a life-saving cure.
Police are seeking additional potential victims of 69-year-old Vincent Gammill, who was arrested earlier this month on various charges, including dependent adult abuse, furnishing dangerous drugs without a license and practicing medicine without a license, ABC News reports.
The female patient, who has late-stage cancer and would only identify herself as Fern, says she visited Gammill as a last resort after following him online for several years. (Gammill lists himself as the director of The Natural Oncology Institute, a program that promises to “bridge the wide chasm between what is known in cancer research and what is practiced in a clinical setting,” per its website.)
She claims he charged her $2,000 for his services. In return, she received multiple plastic baggies containing various powders, expired medication, and at least one bag of dirt, according to CBS News.
“She began to get a burning sensation in her stomach and Gammill told the victim it was good her stomach was burning because that meant the ingredients were still active,” police told ABC News.
Concerned about that, as well as other statements that Gammill had made, Fern approached police, who served a search warrant at Gammill’s home and his office after they found no record of any medical training for someone under that name.
They recovered over 25,000 prescription pills including morphine, Ambien, steroids, and Mexican and Russian drugs at both locations, according to The Contra Costa Times.
For Fern, the discovery was distressing. “[Cancer patients are] very vulnerable because there isn’t a cure and when you’re getting further down the line you get desperate,” she told ABC News.
She added: “I was very upset that there was somebody who was preying on cancer victims.”
Gammill was released on $10,000 bond and is scheduled to make his first court appearance next month, per ABC News.
This case bears some similarities to the case against Dr. Farid Fata, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for poisoning cancer patients with unnecessary and expensive treatments.
Anyone who may have been a victim of Gammill’s is encouraged to contact the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office at 925-313-2600.
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