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Fake Doctor Ordered to Pay for Duping Alcoholics

Fake Doctor Ordered to Pay for Duping Alcoholics

I will admit, I love it when an alt-med peddler get what’s coming to them. Especially when they prey on people with an actual illness. There is nothing more despicable.

Luckily, one purveyor of woo has been ordered out of the game permanently. A Florida federal court has ordered the marketers of a bogus alcoholism “cure” to pay over $700,000 to victims of the scam. The scam was run by fake doctor Robert Douglas “Dr. Doug” Krotzer out of Jacksonville, FL.

The company — doing business as either Alcoholism Cure Corporation, Enjoy A Few, or Guilt Free Drinking — used online ads that claimed the program could cure alcoholism “while allowing alcoholics to drink socially.” It required a monthly membership and participants had to take herbal remedies while claiming scientific proof of effectiveness. Time explains how the scam worked:

The initial cost to consumers was several hundred dollars, supposedly depending on the severity of the drinking problem. But if they tried to quit the program and stop paying, consumers were also required to submit hair samples undergo expensive medical tests — supposedly to prove whether or not their drinking had been “cured” and, therefore, whether they owed money. Their credit cards were charged unauthorized fees ranging from $9,000 to $20,000.

The company’s website also claimed that customers’ information would be kept private and that they could cancel at anytime. But when members tried to cancel, they were also threatened with disclosure of their alcohol problems to employers, creditors and others, then harassed by bill collectors and threatened with lawsuits to recoup payment.

Make outrageous promises of a cure for alcoholism, then blackmail your customers when they realize they’ve been duped. Nice.

Hopefully, this ruling will stop this particular charlatan from hurting anyone else. According to the FTC, Krotzer is forever barred from treating alcoholism, and much more:

The court’s final order permanently bans the defendants from marketing or selling any treatment or cure for alcoholism, drug addiction, or any other human health-related problem.  The final order also prohibits the defendants from using trade names such as “alcoholism cure” or “permanent cure,” from unauthorized billing, and from taking any further collections actions against their victims.  The defendants also may not misrepresent the cost or terms of any offer they make, the professional qualifications of Krotzer or any employee, or that the company is a charity.  Finally, the order requires the defendants to pay $732,480, to be used for consumer refunds, if practical.

It’s just another reminder that extraordinary claims, especially when it comes to your health, requires extraordinary proof.

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27 comments

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9:01PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying, “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

7:43AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

There are just so many quacks around to take advantage of suffering people, including multinational pill companies.

12:22PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

Florida scam State USA; there are no end of con merchants in the sunshine state. This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many rip-off artists preying on the innocent and vulnerable. Now there are two more Nationwide who are attempting to trick the voting population; Rmoney/Ryan scam merchants rip off the poor to enrich the wealthy. Do not be fooled. Vote Obama, delay the end game.

8:14PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Luvenia V: Don't I know that about prescription drugs. I was once prescribed a medication that made me do really weird things, I kept telling my dr. and he kept saying "my body needed time to adapt". Long story short, my body didn't adapt and I ended up in the hospital after almost dying. He apologized but I fired him regardless....and took myself off that drug. I also became much more careful about taking prescribed medications and have probably saved my own life. Doctors are just too busy these days to give every patient the individual care they need. We need to be our own best caretakers and research every drug we're prescribed.

7:54PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Thats disgusting

7:12PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

I agree with Luvenia. MDs are much more dangerous than this guy. At least he didn't kill anybody.

7:03PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

@nancy b.Because they have money.

6:59PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Snake oil salesmen have been around forever.

6:34PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

The truth is we should MORE afraid of what our doctors and the pharmaceutical companies are doing than ANY crazed shooter.

http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/bad-medicine-1/why-doctors-are-more-dangerous-than-guns.html

These data show that FDA-approved prescription drugs kill 290 Americans every single day, meaning that for mass shootings to approach that number, you'd have to see a Colorado Batman movie massacre take place EVERY HOUR of every day, 365 days a year.

Or, you'd have to see a jumbo jet airliner with hundreds of passengers crash into the ground every single day in America. That's how dangerous doctors and FDA-approved prescription medications really are.

6:27PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

This is disgusting.

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