A doctor whose license was revoked after he was charged with molesting three women at his Orange County office was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles on suspicion of practicing without a license.
In a separate case, a physician's assistant has been arrested on suspicion of illegally practicing medicine at a Huntington Beach clinic. State authorities say the man didn't even have a license to be a physician's assistant.
In East Los Angeles, investigators from the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance arrested Dr. Alfred W. Chao, 39, at a clinic on South Atlantic Boulevard. The BMQA had revoked Chao's license in September after he allegedly molested three patients.
Chao, who has practiced medicine all across the state including Orange County, has an eight-year history of run-ins with the BMQA. In 1979, the board placed Chao on probation after it charged him with Medi-Cal and insurance fraud and dispensing dangerous drugs without cause.
The probation was continued in 1984 for three years. But Chao's license was revoked on Sept. 16 after the BMQA concluded that he had sexually molested three patients, all cadets from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, at a clinic in Anaheim.
Chao was charged in criminal court last summer with molesting the women. All three had gone to Chao complaining of leg injuries, and all claimed that he fondled them when they were alone during examinations.
Chao denied the accusations, and an Orange County Superior Court jury failed to reach a verdict. The charges were then dropped.
Kathy Schmidt, a senior investigator for BMQA, said her agency was tipped on Monday that Chao was again practicing medicine, this time at the East Los Angeles County Medical Group.
After an undercover BMQA investigator went to the clinic Tuesday and verified that Chao was in fact practicing medicine, the doctor was arrested, Schmidt said.
Dr. James W. Eisenberg, director of the clinic, said, "I was, to say the least, shocked" that Chao's license had been revoked. Eisenberg said that he asked Chao when he hired him in March if he had ever had trouble with BMQA and that Chao said he had not. Eisenberg did not check with the board.
Chao's bond had not been set late Tuesday, as he was still being processed into Los Angeles County Jail.
In the second case, BMQA investigators arrested Mark F. Shannon, 31, of Fountain Valley earlier this month. Shannon was charged last week with pretending to be a doctor and practicing medicine at Medical Care Center in Huntington Beach after the real doctor there was arrested on suspicion having controlled drugs for personal use. Shannon is free on a personal recognizance bond.
Shannon allegedly saw patients and dispensed prescription drugs during the last week of November at Dr. Jerry N. Rand's clinic at 17672 Beach Blvd. Shannon had worked there since August as a physician's assistant. However, he is also accused of not having the required state license to hold even that job.
BMQA began investigating Shannon after being tipped that he had taken Rand's place after Rand was arrested at his Costa Mesa home Nov. 21 on drug charges.
'Threat to Public Safety'
Schmidt said the agency sent undercover investigators to the office on Dec. 1, the day after the tip. After verifying that Shannon was practicing medicine, Schmidt said, investigators arrested him on the misdemeanor charges.
"We felt he was a threat to public safety," Schmidt said.
BMQA investigators last week presented their case against Shannon to the district attorney's office, which last Wednesday filed five misdemeanor charges against Shannon in Orange County West Municipal Court. He is due to be arraigned Jan. 13.
Schmidt said the BMQA is also investigating Rand in connection with the drug possession charges.
Rand, 41, was arrested after Costa Mesa police responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at his home. According to Costa Mesa Patrol Officer Darrel Raney, who arrested the doctor, Rand's female roommate complained that the doctor was "acting irrationally and breaking things up."
Police reportedly found bottles of prescription drugs bearing names of different patients. Rand was freed from Orange County Jail on $10,000 bond. His secretary said Tuesday that he was back at work at the clinic.
Neither Rand nor Shannon, who also was reported at the clinic Tuesday, would return calls.