SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A La Mesa man who posed as a doctor and told people he could cure cancer and HIV was convicted Friday of 10 felony counts, including practicing medicine without a license and grand theft.
Keith Barton, 51, faces between seven and 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 10, Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas said.
"He held himself out as a doctor, when he's not a doctor -- he's not licensed -- and he provided treatments, and he sold a remedy that was a `snake oil,' for lack of a better term, for substantial amounts of money, $18,000 to one victim and $13,000 to another victim," Darvas said outside court. "He also prescribed treatments that were harmful and dangerous, and the victims suffered some tragic results."
Darvas said Barton would take patients to Mexico for some treatments then put them up at a hotel in San Ysidro.
The prosecutor told jurors that the defendant -- who advertised on the Internet -- called himself "Dr. Barton" and promised to cure a woman and her children of HIV.
One of the children, a 9-year-old girl, subsequently died as a result of not receiving effective treatment.
Another 60-year-old woman had her teeth and part of her jaw removed after going to see the defendant for auto-immune disease, Darvas said.
According to authorities, Barton is not a licensed medical doctor but shares his first and last name with a real medical doctor who is licensed in California. Barton used that fact to create the impression that he was a licensed professional, prosecutors said.
The defendant said he provided treatment for cancer, allergies and other ailments, with more than 200 doctors on staff, including surgeons working for him in Tijuana.
In a videotaped meeting, Barton told an undercover officer posing as a patient that his therapy treatment could cure her recurring colon cancer.
Darvas called Barton -- who was also convicted of false personation -- "a dangerous man."
"Treating people who have serious life-threatening diseases with ineffective remedies is a dangerous practice," Darvas said.
Barton was arrested Jan. 8, 2013, and had been free on bail. Judge Amalia Meza ordered him back into custody following the verdict.