A San Fernando Valley doctor and evangelical minister who federal prosecutors said used bogus herbal medications to offer false hope to dozens of people suffering from diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s was found guilty Tuesday of nearly a dozen federal charges.
Twenty-eight victims or family members of victims who died while taking the products testified against Christine Daniel, 57, who was found guilty Tuesday on four counts of mail and wire fraud, six counts of tax evasion related to income tax filings as well as one count of witness tampering.
Daniel faces a maximum sentence of 150 years in federal prison and fines totaling $5.5 million. She is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 5 in federal court in Los Angeles.
Federal prosecutors successfully argued that Daniel leveraged her position of trust among evangelical Christians and through a program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network to push the phony treatments, which were marketed under the names C-Extract, “the natural treatment” and “the herbal treatment.”
Some of the medications, prosecutors said, contained nothing more exotic than sunscreen preservatives and beef extract.
Daniel charged her customers up to $4,270 for a week’s worth of the product while a six-month treatment program retailed for $120,000 to $150,000, prosecutors said. [...]
According to federal prosecutors, Daniel fraudulently marketed and sold a medical treatment that she and her employees claimed had a 60% to 100% rate in curing Stage 4 “metastatic or terminal cancers.” She also claimed to be able to reverse conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and hepatitis.
She also failed to report $1.3 million on her corporate tax returns from 2002 to 2004.
Daniel is an ordained Pentecostal minister who got her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
For decades she ran medical clinics for the poor, in the San Fernando Valley and downtown, and worked in hospital emergency rooms. She was also devoted to regular missions overseas.
“If I can just help somebody – one person,” she told the Daily News in 1995. “I just want to make an impact on one person’s life. Just show them love. Just let them know you care.” [...]
Daniel and her employees induced 55 victims to send roughly $1 million to the Sonrise clinic, most of whom died within three to six months after the bogus cure. [...]
Prosecutors said Daniel even fleeced other clergy. In late 2003, George McKinney, who founded St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ in San Diego, agreed to have his wife, Jean, treated by Daniel. The couple moved into their son’s home in Los Angeles, and Jean McKinney took an herbal mixture three to four times a day for her terminal colon cancer.
Daniel also used a heat machine that was supposed to reduce the tumour, authorities said. The couple paid Daniel more than $100,000. Jean McKinney died in June 2004.
According to The Associated Press
Prosecutors said Daniel tried to influence the testimony of at least two witnesses who were called before a grand jury. She was acquitted of one count of witness tampering.
The trial, which began in March, took a four-month hiatus after the daughter of Daniel’s defense attorney died in May. The lawyer was relieved and Daniel represented herself for the remainder of the trial. A phone listing for Daniel, who is free on bond, could not be found.