Authorities say an El Cerrito man posing as an oncologist in Richmond offered patients expired drugs and also a bag filled with dirt as a cancer treatment.
Last week, Contra Costa sheriff’s deputies arrested 69-year-old Vincent Gammill on suspicion of practicing medicine without a license, dependent adult abuse and furnishing drugs without a license. The arrest followed a cooperative investigation by the sheriff’s offices of Contra Costa and Ventura counties.
Deputies in Ventura County first heard of the case in June, when a 49-year-old cancer-stricken woman from Thousand Oaks reported being duped out of $2,000 by Gammill and given fake medication. The woman sought Gammill’s help after seeing his website in 2009 and, since her cancer was progressing in the late stages, decided to seek his help as a last resort, authorities said.
She visited his Richmond office at 3065 Richmond Parkway, where Gammill told her to alter the dosage of medicine and gave her plastic baggies containing various powders, empty capsules, vials of liquid, expired medication and at least one bag of dirt, deputies said.
Gammill was also said to have brought out a frying pan before telling the woman the compounds he gave her could burn a hole through the table. Then he told her how to mix the ingredients, transferring the mixture to a capsule for her to ingest, which she did. The woman said she felt burning in her stomach, which Gammill said was a good thing, as it meant the ingredients were still active.
Investigators found the man’s website and company name, Natural Oncology Institute, Inc., but they didn’t find proof of medical training.
On July 9, deputies served a search warrant at his home in the 2600 block of Tamalpais Avenue in El Cerrito. The county’s hazmat team was called to the home after authorities found lab equipment with bottles labeled “corrosive” and “poison.” Detectives also said they found about 25,000 prescription pills, including morphine, Ambien, steroids, and Mexican and Russian prescription pills at both his home and office.
Gammill told deputies he had no formal training beyond high school, but later claimed he received a medical degree in the 1990s, deputies said.
He was booked in jail in Contra Costa County, but is scheduled to appear in the Ventura County Superior Court on Aug. 31.
Anyone who may have been a victim of Gammill’s allegedly illegal medical practice is encouraged to contact Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies at (925) 313-2600. Residents in Southern California are encouraged to contact Ventura County deputies at (805) 383-8700.
Information from this report provided by Bay City News