Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento chiropractor pleads guilty to defrauding clients

A Sacramento-area chiropractor has pleaded guilty to claiming he was a doctor and bilking thousands of dollars from his patients.

On Feb. 9, James Joseph Martin pleaded guilty to three counts of practicing medicine without a license, four counts of grand theft by false pretenses and misdemeanor charges of illegally using “M.D.” and “physician” in advertisements, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release distributed Wednesday.

Martin appeared in infomercials on ABC10’s Sac&Co, where he discussed medical maladies with the show’s host while a banner with his office’s phone number hovered at the bottom of the screen, according to the release. He frequently advertised his service as a functional neurologist who could cure thyroid and nerve issues through pastoral treatment, the District Attorney’s Office reported.

According to the release, Martin was a licensed chiropractor, not the physician he claimed to be. The “M.D.” that often followed his name in promotional materials was a lie, but it let him “prescribe” over-the-counter medications at significant markups, costing patients thousands of dollars in some cases, the District Attorney’s Office reported.

Martin had been barred from practicing chiropractic medicine since his arrest in Redding in July 2016, according to a state Board of Chiropractic Examiners news release. The board had previously cited Martin for his misleading advertising before one of his patients filed a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

In a court appearance scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 29, Martin will be sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay restitution to all victims named in the complaint. He will also be placed on felony probation for five years, be forced to surrender his chiropractic license and be warned against further portraying himself as someone who practices functional or pastoral medicine.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel