Medical marijuana clinic owner admits to fraud
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Owner of multiple marijuana clinics admitted Wednesday to forging a doctor’s signature and fraudulently using the doctor’s name and license number to write fake medical marijuana prescriptions.
The 72-year-old man, Nelson Leone, will be sentenced September 14, 2015. He faces up to a $250,000 fine and five years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy stated that every patient has the right to have a licensed professional advise them on matters which affect their health, regardless of whether they are seeking medical marijuana or prescription drugs.
“It is simply unacceptable to have someone forge a doctor’s signature for their own personal financial gain,” Duffy said.
Prosecutors stated that Leone advertised six clinics under the name Green Cross Evaluations, via The Reader and over the internet. IN the ads, he made it clear that his clinics were “consumer friendly” with on-site ATMs and accommodations for walk-in patients as well as a $25 “new patient special”
He also advertised the his clinics offered access to a “licensed physician.”
According to prosecutors, five of the six clinics did not have a licensed doctor on staff.
Leone was stripped of his medical license in 1995. He employed only one licensed doctor at one of his six locations.
At the other five locations, Leone issued medical marijuana recommendations to customers under his sole doctors name and license number.
Those recommendations falsely stated that the patient was evaluated and suffered from a condition that “may benefit from the use of medical marijuana.”
Leone agreed to shut down all six of his clinics as part of his plea.