Police: Phony Doctor Practiced 'Acupuncture' With Toothpicks
He gave patient 'Prosperous Farmer' pills that expired in 2002.
George Fleming, 61, of Skokie was charged with a Class 4 felony Wednesday after an April 23 incident in which he impersonated a doctor and prescribed medicine without a license.
During that incident, Fleming passed himself off as a doctor to a patient, stuck toothpicks in the patient's chest in what may have been a form of acupuncture and gave the patient pills, labeled "Prosperous Farmer Dietary Supplement," which expired in 2002.
Fleming came into the Niles police station voluntarily Wednesday to speak to investigators and a representative from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Police said Fleming implicated himself as practicing medicine during the interview, and they contacted an assistant Cook County state's attorney. He was given Miranda warnings before the interview.
The assistant state's attorney approved charging Fleming with one count of violating the Illinois Medical Practice Act of 1987. If convicted, he could face one to three years of prison time and be fined up to $25,000.
The incident that prompted the charge began when the patient spotted an ad promoting a "doctor's" services in a Bulgarian-language newspaper. The patient made an appointment for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 and arrived at an office in the 8900 block of Golf Road in Niles. The office was closed, but after the patient knocked repeatedly, Fleming, wearing a white lab coat, let him in, greeted him, walked him back to an exam room, asked the patient his symptoms and conducted a basic examination.
The patient later told police Fleming stuck toothpicks in his chest, in what may have been a form of acupuncture. Then, according to police, Fleming gave him a bottle of the "Prosperous Farmer" pills and instructed him to take one a day until they ran out. He charged $150 for the "exam" and would only take cash.
After the patient returned home, his son noticed the pills had expired in February 2002 and the patient recalled that it was odd the "doctor" never had him fill out any paperwork, that the office was empty and that a sign on the door said the clinic closed at 4 p.m. Saturdays.
The patient phoned the clinic during the week, and the employee who answered the phone did not know Fleming. When the patient came to the clinic, Fleming ran out, jumped in his car and drove away, according to the police report. That prompted the patient to call police, who investigated.