Area man arrested for selling fake medical cures
Ralph Johnson, a 62-year-old Cedar Ridge man, was arraigned Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court on felony charges of unlicensed cancer treatment, grand theft and other related counts.
Johnson, a resident of the upscale neighborhood “The Cedars,” allegedly didn’t have any sort of medical license. Yet, he presented himself as a chiropractor and sold “machines” he claimed would cure cancer – machines not approved for sale or possession in California, according to an investigative report by the Medical Board of California.
He also held Bible study classes at his home for Twin Cities Church members that were “nothing more than a facade” to sell vitamins and nutritional supplements, according to the report.
The felony charges against Johnson involve a 52-year-old Grass Valley woman who paid more than $1,600 to Johnson for services and products during 2000-2001. Her purchases included herbal medicines and “some sort of breathing machine” that Johnson promised would cure her if she sat in front of it for five minutes a day, said a report by a Nevada County Sheriff’s Department investigator.
According to the sheriff investigator’s report, the woman was very desperate about her cancer and willing to try anything – including euthanizing her two beloved dogs.
“(Johnson) went on to convince her that her two dogs (were) transmitting the ‘cancer virus’ to her …. She was extremely emotionally attached to the dogs” but agreed to put them down under pressure from Johnson, the sheriff’s investigator said.
Investigators also reported the following information in reports filed with the court:
— A Nevada City woman with breast cancer told the investigator that she felt Johnson prevented her from seeking proper medical attention for up to six months.
The woman said “she was scheduled for a mammogram because there was an abnormality in her first one,” the report said. But “she delayed the checkup for another six months because Ralph Johnson conducted a test and told her she did not have cancer.”
Later, the woman “went to her doctor and she was diagnosed with breast cancer and … underwent chemotherapy. (She) said she had lost several treatment options by waiting as long as she had.”
— A minister at Twin Cities Church paid Johnson about $1,500 for nutritional supplements to treat a chronic illness, and spent one night at Johnson’s home on a device that Johnson claimed would cure the minister if he slept on it overnight, according to the Medical Board.
Johnson held Bible study classes at his home and sold his products, but there were complaints from church members. Johnson telephoned the church in September or October 2001 and resigned, the minister told the investigator.
Now, the minister “opines … that Johnson is a quack who takes advantage of people who are desperate for cures for their medical problems,” according to the investigation.
On Jan. 31, a team of investigators with a search warrant seized items from Johnson’s Cedar Ridge home, including so-called “black boxes” which appear to be in violation of California Health and Safety Code, including an “Advanced Bio-photon Integrator,” the Medial Board investigation said.
The Medical Board investigator also contacted people who felt Johnson’s treatment had helped them, including a woman whose 91-year-old father took supplements which Johnson suggested would shrink his prostate cancer tumor, and “the tumor was found to be much smaller on surgery than anticipated.”
Johnson’s next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.
Johnson couldn’t be reached for comment.
A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at Johnson’s Cedar Ridge home hung up after a reporter asked to speak with Johnson.
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