Phony San Francisco doctor pleads guilty to five
By Adam Martin, Bay City News Service
March 23, 2006
A former doctor from Hayward arrested last month for practicing
medicine without a license in San Francisco pleaded guilty today
to five felony counts.
Stephen Turner, 51, agreed to a state prison sentence of seven
years and eight months in exchange for his guilty plea, Assistant
District Attorney Maxwell Peltz said today.
Turner admitted to two counts of practicing medicine without
a license, one count of mishandling blood samples, one count of
filing false records and one count of grand theft, Peltz said.
The charges come with two enhancements for his victims losing
more than $150,000.
Turner operated two clinics in San Francisco's Mission district
from 1999 to 2005. There, he offered medical exams required for
immigrants applying for permanent resident status. He was accused
of giving shots of saline solution instead of vaccine and taking
blood samples that he never sent to a lab. He also falsified the
results of tests on those samples.
"We're very satisfied with the amount of prison time,''
Peltz said outside the San Francisco superior courtroom of Judge
Harold E. Kahn, where Turner entered his plea. The stiff punishment,
he said, matches the seriousness of the crime and the number of
Peltz said Turner stole at least $200 from each of 114 victims.
In addition to his expected jail sentence, Turner will be charged
$138,000 in fines and restitutions.
Turner's lawyer, Herman Franck, said Turner was "very anxious
and very nervous'' about his upcoming prison sentence. "He
wants to sign up for what he needs to do, and he wants to do it,''
Franck said, "but he's worried about staying safe in prison.''
Franck said Turner had operated his two San Francisco clinics
after surrendering his license because he needed the money.
"He's got a bad situation,'' Franck said. "He doesn't
have a license, can't make any money and he has a family.''
Franck said Turner owed $1 million to settle a harassment suit
leveled against him in 1997 after he allegedly pursued a woman
who was not interested in him.
Turner's wife and three children will have to give up their Hayward
home following today's plea, Franck said. "They've got to
figure out what they're going to do next.''
Turner surrendered his license in 1998, according to California
Medical Board records. The board had placed him on probation after
he exposed himself to young women on two separate incidents in
1984 and 1992.
In 1994, the board revoked Turner's license, but stayed that
revocation, placing him on seven years' probation instead. Turner
gave up his license in 1998 instead of completing his probation.
Board spokeswoman Candis Cohen said today that Turner could,
in future, reapply for his license with the board.
"Every licensee has due process rights. Under the law, physicians
who have lost that license may petition for reinstatement of that
license three years after they lose it,'' Cohen said.
Turner will have the right to apply for his license.
"Every case is considered individually, with past acts taken
account,'' Cohen said.
Peltz today said that, while the immigration status of Turner's
victims is under the control of the U.S. Department of Citizenship
and Immigration Services, "we expect that people who followed
the rules and got the exams will not be penalized.''
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