A California "chemist," 69-year-old Richard Gammill, was arrested this month for scamming a cancer patient out of thousands of dollars by selling fake prescriptions and remedies.
A “chemist” who claimed that he could treat various cancers using alternative medicine was arrested after a Thousand Oaks, CA mother reported the con-artist to local police. According to a report from ABC, the victim, who wished only to be identified as Fern, said that she was “very upset” that someone would scam people who are desperate for help in their time of need.
Fern has fought against breast cancer for seven years, and the mother of two went through years of chemotherapy before the cancer spread to other parts of her body.
She decided to discontinue chemotherapy in 2009 and look towards natural options. She found a website the same year that promoted Vincent Gammill’s “Natural Oncology Institute,” and noted that it might be a good last option if traditional medicine continued to fail.
Gammill touted himself on the internet as an alternative medicine “guru,” who specialized in vaccines. The 50-year old mother drove to Richmond, CA to seek treatment from Gammill at his institute, where she was charged $2,000 for her stay.
After spending two days at Gammill’s office, Fern left realizing that the treatment was little more a scam. Gammill reportedly gave Fern baggies containing dirt, empty capsules, powders, and vials of liquid, among other medications. He gave her various expired prescriptions, and made a number of contradictory comments that raised her eyebrows.
Fern spent three days and thousands of dollars to visit Gammill, and she immediately notified the police when she got home. Investigators confirmed that Gammill had no medical training, and a search of his home turned up laboratory equipment and bottles labeled as “corrosive” and “poisonous.” They also found over 25,000 prescription pills, including morphine, Ambien, steroids, and a number of Mexican and Russian pharmaceuticals.
Gammill was arrested on July 9 for practicing medicine without a license, dependent adult abuse and furnishing dangerous drugs without a license.