Task Force Takes On Unlicensed Doctors - 8 News NOW

Task Force Takes On Unlicensed Doctors

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LAS VEGAS -- A man was arrested last week, accused of posing as a doctor and then sexually assaulting patients in his home. The case is bringing new light to the issue of fake doctors in Nevada.

A state task force met today to discuss the problem, and they're focusing on Latinos who most often fall victim to these phony physicians. 

Some of these fake doctors have used cooking oil, floor wax, even cement in homemade illegal procedures that put people's lives in danger. It's not until a patient dies that police know medicine is being practiced illegally, and they say victims are reluctant to come forward and report these crimes.

Juan Alberto Ruan-Rivera is the latest poster child for illegal medicine. He's in jail in North Las Vegas with a $173,000 bail for charges of battery and sexual assault.

"He was supposedly a doctor, chiropractor, a nutritionist, a counselor, marriage and children's counselor," said an alleged victim.

The alleged victim remembers going to his house and then being drugged remembering only pieces of what occurred.

"You had no power or control of what you'd do or say. It's like something would happen and you'd be like, 'Oh my God, what did I do?' or things like that," she said.

Police say Rivera promised patients a cure their ailments for not much money, and then sexually assaulted them. At least three victims have come forward, including a 51-year-old woman, a 27-year-old woman, and a 5-year-old boy.

"These fake doctors are extremely cunning and often very charming, but in reality they are con artists that seem to be preying on uninsured or underinsured patients for money," said Drew Bradley with UNR's Latino Research Center.

Many Latino victims are afraid to report a crime, fearing deportation. 

This illegal activity has also invaded the dental and pharmaceutical professions as well, so police urge anyone to come forward who believes they've been taken advantage of.

Metro's Violent Crimes Unit began investigating surgery centers to make sure they were licensed, and narcotics detectives have been going undercover into pharmacies advertising botanicals and have busted at least 10.

Experts said if Nevada had a website making it easy to look up a doctor's license, people would use it and avoid getting conned and endangered.

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