When your porn business tanks, become a “doctor”

An arrogant man has all his porn producing equipment stolen so he decides to enter the medical field treating people without an appropriate license because he doesn’t think the rules apply to him.

This is why we have regulations. He’s in jail.

A judge set bail at $1 million Wednesday for an alleged phony doctor after prosecutors said they were considering a murder charge against him.

Source: Man who practiced medicine without license could face murder charge 

A Las Vegas judge considered Rick Van Thiel a danger to the community after hearing that he was treating some 87 so-called “patients” including some with cancer and AIDS. The prosecutor is seeking second degree murder charges of the death of an AIDS patient citing “reckless disregard”.

Van Thiel also has pending sexual assault charges from a patient as well as for several felonies including acting as a medical practitioner without a license, possession of drugs, and issuing drugs without a prescription. He advertised on Craigs List as “Dr. Rick” saying he could treat sexually transmitted diseases and provided abortions. He was not a doctor. He had previously been incarcerated in 2007 for battery. Evidence shows he was a porn producer who sold sex toys and escort and massage services out of his home.

Van Thiel appears to have connections to the Sovereign citizen movement, though the articles give no indication of why authorities believe this. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Sovereign Citizens  “a strange subculture” of people who hold “bizarre, complex antigovernment beliefs”. They choose not to obey laws that should apply to everyone and they think they shouldn’t pay taxes. How convenient. That’s an arrestin’! The US Justice Department has recently created a new position that focuses on domestic terrorism concerns and cited this group which police officials believe is a major threat to citizens, even more so than foreign groups like ISIS or al Qaeda.

The comments for the Van Thiel story reflect some of these bizarre beliefs – that licensed doctors are shills, pharmaceuticals and conventional medicine kills more people than alternatives, and that no one was harmed if “Dr. Rick” got their consent for treatment. So his actions do seem consistent with the idea that flaunting laws is OK.

Regulation of medical services is necessary for public health and safety because of people like Van Thiel who would pretend to have specialized knowledge and who aim to make money off the sick or desperate. The country would be flooded with fake practitioners and alternative, unscientific and untested schemes. Ah, well, perhaps it already is.

Fooled by a white coat and a little badge: Ignorance is dangerous

Fake Cancer Doctor Arrested in California

Texas Medical Board files detailed complaint against Burzynski

Police are looking for those who went to Van Thiel in case they need additional treatment or may have been exposed to further health risk because of his irresponsibility.

  18 comments for “When your porn business tanks, become a “doctor”

  1. October 16, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    He states he’s “read tons and tons of books”, so this qualifies him to practice medicine. That’s very much the kind of thing you can read on internet forums centered around diseases, unfortunately – there always seems to be at least one person who “knows more than the doctors” and believes that “doctors are only in it for the money” or “doctors and drug companies conspire to keep people sick”.

    If that kind of thinking keeps even one person from getting the treatment that he/she needs, it’s very dangerous.

  2. Dan Beach
    October 16, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    The most shocking part is that he had a failed porn/escort enterprise.

  3. Edward
    October 16, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    I have friends who have “read tons and tons of books” or rather, websites. They say “I’ve done my research!” All this time I thought research consisted of making precise observations in a carefully controlled setting like a lab, or clinic or observatory. Or perhaps outdoors, but with special equipment. Or on the street using especially designed questionnaires, not just reading.

    Even going to school is more than reading. You have face to face interactions with other students and the professor and his/her assistants. Oh, and tests! And grades. And years of internship, residency and fellowships if you are going to be a doctor, by the way.

  4. Karl
    October 16, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    In Canada, Sovereign Citizens tend to go by “Freeman on the Land”. An Alberta judge pretty much handed down the definitive ruling on their legal clap trap. It offers some of the smartest, most hilarious writing you might ever read in a court ruling:

    http://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2012/2012abqb571/2012abqb571.html

  5. Karl
    October 16, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    “He states he’s “read tons and tons of books”, so this qualifies him to practice medicine. ”

    Real doctors chuckle when chiros and naturopaths like to claim they spend as much time in the classroom as people who get their MDs. So, like, they’re the same. Getting your MD just means you’re now ready to spend the next decade really learning how to practice medicine. Chiros and naturopaths can hang up a shingle on asap.

  6. Blargh
    October 16, 2015 at 6:06 PM

    There is a case, also dealing with a Freeman on the Land, citing that one that is laugh-out-loud funny: R. v. Duncan, 2013 ONCJ 160 (CanLII)

    “Thus it was that the trial began with Mr. Duncan objecting to us proceeding on the basis that I had no jurisdiction over him. Mr. Duncan provided me with an “affidavit of truth”, a rather substantial volume that appeared to me to be the result of somebody doing a Google search for terms like “jurisdiction” and the like and then cobbling them together in such a way that it makes James Joyce’s Ulysses look like an easy read. This hodgepodge of irrelevancies relied upon by Mr. Duncan was one of the misbegotten fruits of the internet. Finding it was a waste of Mr. Duncan’s time; printing it was a waste of trees and my reading it was a waste of my time and public money. With that volume as his starting point, Mr. Duncan spent some time explaining to me that I had no jurisdiction to try him, that he was not a citizen of the province or the country, that he was not a person as defined by my definitions, that there was no contract between him and me to give me status to sit in judgment over him and so on. As I have said, Mr. Duncan struck me as a perfectly pleasant young man, but on this issue he seemed a bit obtuse. I suppose that if perfectly pleasant young men weren’t led astray from time to time by drugs, alcohol, broken hearts or rubbish on the internet, then the dockets of provincial court wouldn’t be quite as plump as they usually are.”

  7. Rich
    October 17, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Ahhh, I seee….. you’d be Karl as in Karl Mamer, then? Pardon my slowness in realising this.

    I actually paused your Conspiracy Skeptic podcast to read all of that Alberta ruling when it was mentioned in the Sovereign Citizens episode. It’s a quite brilliant analysis of a very, very odd phenomenon, part legal obfuscation, part outright delusion. It’s difficult to believe someone could actually put a stamp on an official document, add some punctuation to their name and genuinely believe that by doing so they will infallibly trigger the release of SECRET BILLIONS$$$.

    I’d second your recommendation that people read it, it’s remarkable.

    And I enjoy the podcast, too.

  8. October 17, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    I have to admit, I was pulled into this court document regaling the legal claptrap of “sovereign citizens” and “Freeman on the land” and had to drag myself by the ear to get back to my Saturday chores. I had first heard about this stuff a few years ago via Snopes, in particular, some pseudo-legalistic nonsense about how a person is not bound by anything that happens in a courtroom where the flag has gold fringe.

    http://www.apfn.org/apfn/flag.htm
    GET THAT GOLD FRINGE OFF MY FLAG!

    “Any courtroom that displays these flags behind the Judge is a military courtroom. You are under military law and not constitutional law, or common law, or civil law, or statute law.”

    http://sovereign-citizenship.net/-l9NKr3b4cT*gtLbVRPK8av-/11_fringe.html
    “The gold-fringed flag and wrongly-proportioned red, white and blue flags are flags of a foreign corporation regulated by the UCC.”

    Wikipedia: “The gold fringe around the American flag, as displayed in many federal courts, designates them as Admiralty courts, which cannot hear other kinds of cases, or signal that the court is operating under martial law.”

  9. BobM
    October 17, 2015 at 6:37 PM

    The man is obviously an idiot. All he had to do was call himself a therapist, or a nutritionist or something vague, and he could have done pretty much whatever he wanted.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 18, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    When your porn business tanks, become a “doctor”

    Now THAT takes some brass balls…

    Van Thiel appears to have connections to the Sovereign citizen movement, though the articles give no indication of why authorities believe this. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Sovereign Citizens “a strange subculture” of people who hold “bizarre, complex antigovernment beliefs”.

    Sovereign Citizen — just like Kent “Dr Dino” Hovind.
    Now that is ONE weird bunch of fringies looking down their noses at all us sheeple led to Gubmint slaughter.

    On another blog I comment on, one of the regular commenters is a sitting judge in Northern California. He gets Sovereign Citizen types through his courtroom; he commented once that when a defendant starts out reading off a Sovereign Citizen Manifesto, not only is it going to be a LONG day, but it can only go downhill from there.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 18, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    Guy’s got big brass balls but no brains.
    But then, he came from the porn industry.

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 18, 2015 at 5:34 PM
  13. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 18, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    I noticed in the preface to that Canadian court document, one of the synonyms for Sovereign Citizen is “Moorish Law”.

    The adjective “Moorish” was used by several Black Messiah cults and all-black secret societies of around a century ago. Does “Moorish Law” mean a specifically-black version of the Sovereign Citizen Movement?

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 18, 2015 at 6:25 PM

    Clarification of “Moorish Law”, deeper in that Canadian court document:

    5. Moorish Law

    [189] Edmonton is home to Sean Henry (typically styled “:Chief : Nanya-Shaabu: El: of the At-sik-hata Nation of Yamassee Moors”, or less commonly, “Sean Henry Bey”), one of Canada’s very few Moorish Law OPCA litigants. He has frequently appeared in this Court.

    [190] The exotic nature of the Moorish Law movement and its claims warrant some comment, as casual exposure to a Moorish Law litigant may lead an observer to suspect mental impairment or disorder. The Moorish Law community is a predominately American offshoot of urban American black muslim churches such as a Nation of Islam. They claim that black muslims who self-identify as “Moors” are not subject to state or court authority because they are governed by separate law, or are the original inhabitants of North and South America.

    [191] In the case of Henry, he claims that the At-sik-hata Nation owns North America (now renamed “Atlan, Amexem, Turtle Island, Land of Frogs”) as a result of his treaty with the Olmec people, an early culture that existed in meso-America from 1500-400 B.C. and who are noted for their large sculptures of human heads.

    Now THAT sounds like something straight out of Kooks Magazine, Weird Religions/Black Messiahs section.

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 18, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    Pimp who decided to try another type of pimping?

    Oh, and is his name RICK VAN THIEL or :Rick-Van:Thiel:?

  16. Karl
    October 19, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    That is me! I’m too lazy to put my podcast in the Website response box 🙂 In the Meads v Meads document, I love how the judge keeps referring to these pseudo-legal documents and arguments as “magical hats”. You can sort of tell the judge probably read Harry Potter along side his kids and probably was a D&D nerd back in the day.

  17. Loren Petrich
    October 26, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    http://www.skepticblog.org/2014/04/02/oso-tragic-oso-foolish/

    My favorite Sovereign Citizen supporter is Thomas Satterlee. He lived in Oso WA, a town downhill from an unstable hillside that geologists had warned about for years. The possibility of landslides from that hillside provoked efforts to restrict development there, and TS objected to such efforts as big-government nannying. But on March 24, 2014, a landslide from that hillside buried Oso, and TS was never heard from again.

  18. Artor
    October 27, 2015 at 1:36 AM

    Exactly this. My sister is a doctor, and she went through 11 years of grueling school to get her MD, a path that vast numbers of students attempt, but wash out of. No amount of internet browsing is going to equal even one year of the training she underwent to get where she is now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *