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United States v. Daniel

February 22, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRISTINE DANIEL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Margaret M. Morrow United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE SURPLUSAGE FROM INDICTMENT

Defendant Christine Daniel is charged with two counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 2, and two counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 2. The indictment contains a fifth count that seeks forfeiture under 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c), 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C), and 21 U.S.C. § 853.

Daniel has moved to strike as surplusage paragraphs 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 25, 28, 29 and portions of paragraph 19 under Rule 7(d) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Each of these paragraphs addresses the details of Daniel's interaction with certain victims, as well as the purchase of a tablet pulverizer. Daniel argues that "[t]he . . . paragraphs are not relevant to the counts in the indictment. They are prejudicial and inflammatory."*fn1 Daniel also seeks to strike count five of the indictment, which alleges criminal forfeiture. She contends that "Count 5 is improper and does not disclose any violation of any law, statute or regulation by the defendant."*fn2

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The indictment alleges that Daniel was a licensed physician and surgeon doing business as Sonrise Wellness Center, Inc., Sonrise Medical Clinic, Inc., Medical Treatment Options of America, Inc., and Christine Daniel M.D., Inc. (collectively "Sonrise").*fn3 Daniel allegedly developed a product that was labeled, described, and promoted under a variety of names, including "C-Extract," "the natural treatment," and "the herbal treatment" (collectively, "the herbal product").*fn4 The indictment alleges that Daniel and employees working at her direction falsely represented that the herbal product could cure or treat certain diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, diabetes, and hepatitis.*fn5 Daniel and her employees purportedly claimed falsely that the lowest strength herbal product cured cancer 60% of the time while that the highest strength herbal product cured cancer more than 80% of the time.*fn6 The indictment asserts that Daniel used her status as an ordained Pentecostal minister to create a bond of trust and affinity with patients that allowed her to market, promote, and sell the herbal product throughout the evangelical Christian community.*fn7 In addition to shipping the herbal product to customers throughout the United States, Daniel frequently recommended that customers travel to the Sonrise facility in California to receive daily herbal treatments.*fn8 Depending on the strength of the product, Daniel charged between $750 and $4,270 for one week's worth of herbal product.*fn9 The indictment asserts that, contrary to Daniel's representations to customers, the herbal product did not have a 60-80% cancer cure rate, was not made of herbs from around the world, and was not manufactured in a laboratory according to each patient's specifications.*fn10

To market the herbal product, Daniel allegedly created the website www.sonrisewellnesscenter.com, which offered "C-Extract" for sale to cancer patients and the website www.freeofcancer.com to advertise and promote Daniel's "Medical Treatment Options of America" and to facilitate patients wishing to make appointments at the Sonrise facility.*fn11 The indictment alleges that on December 10, 2001, Daniel caused one of her employees to place an advertisement for Medical Treatment Options of America in a Los Angeles area newspaper. The advertisement stated in part: "Do you or someone you know have CANCER, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, MS, Stroke, Heart Disease . . . . Have you come to the end of your treatment road? Why should you die before your time?" The advertisement listed the telephone number and address of the Sonrise facility.*fn12

On December 5, 2002, Daniel promoted the herbal product during a television program broadcast on a prominent Evangelical Christian network, and represented: (1) "We have seen miracles"; (2) "We have seen the dead raised"; (3) "We have an array of herbs we use. We're a clinic, an Evangelical clinic. We combine prayer and herbs. We practice what we call King Hezekiah alternative medicine"; (4) "We have our own laboratory"; (5) "We make our own herbs"; (6) "We have a collection of herbs from around the world and the best areas from every nation"; (7) "The herbs come in levels I-IV depending on what the patient wants"; (8) "We have people today, Stage IV-B cancers, across the nation, that are living today because of our treatment"; (9) "We have a 60% cure rate for the lowest level [herbal product] we have"; (10) "We have people with bone metastasis, lung metastasis, metastasis to the pericardium, we have a lady from Michigan, she had a Stage IV-B spread of the breast cancer to her brain. Within two weeks, the tumor mark drop to normal"; (11) "We work with hepatitis C, we work with diabetes, [and] neuromuscular"; and (12) the herbal treatment could cure hepatitis C.*fn13 In the weeks following her television appearance, Daniel instructed her employees to tell those calling in response to the interview that the Level VI and VII herbal product had an 80% cure rate for cancer.*fn14

The indictment alleges the following interactions with customers or potential customers that Daniel has not moved to strike:

(1) that on August 20, 2001, Daniel met with C.L., who had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, at the Sonrise facility, and told C.L. that she had a treatment made from the finest herbs in the world that would attack C.L.'s cancer and get rid of it; and that C.L. died in March 2002;*fn15

(2) that on December 5, 2002, after being diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer, W.P. saw Daniel's television interview, and traveled from her home in Kansas to the Sonrise facility in January 2003, where Daniel told W.P. that her cancer medicine was made from the herbs of 23 different countries and that she prepared the medicine in a lab at her residence; that W.P. and her husband paid thousands of dollars to purchase the herbal product; and that W.P. died in 2006;*fn16

(3) that on January 9, 2003, Daniel offered to sell J.C., who had been diagnosed with colon cancer, five bottles of "Level 4 C-Extract" for $12,225 per month; and that on January 30, 2004, J.C.'s health insurance paid Daniel $10,050 for the purchase of five bottles of "C3 C-Extract" and one package of "SC Powder";*fn17

(4) that on September 11, 2003, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, R.M. and her husband telephoned Daniel; that on September 16, 2003, they traveled to the Sonrise facility where Daniel told them that she mixed herbs from around the world and called the herbal product "botanical chemotherapy" that had all the components of chemotherapy without the negative side effects; that R.M. and her husband paid thousands of dollars to have the herbal product shipped to their home in Texas; and that R.M. subsequently died;*fn18

(5) that on October 2, 2003, the daughter of M.A., who had developed metastatic melanoma, telephoned Daniel; that Daniel told her that the "C-Extract" medicine was made by Daniel from herbs obtained in Europe; that the daughter and other family members paid thousands of dollars to have the herbal product shipped to M.A. in Minnesota; and that M.A. died on November 19, 2003.*fn19

The following are the allegations Daniel has moved to strike:

(1) that Daniel caused the herbal product to be sent to W.P., referenced infra, on four dates in 2004;*fn20

(2) that in October 2001, after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, P.M. and her husband telephoned Daniel; that Daniel told them that the basic cancer program was six months in length, that chemotherapy would do P.M. no good, and that P.M.'s husband needed to bring P.M. to the Sonrise facility; that the couple traveled to the facility, where Daniel told them that the herbal treatment would shrink P.M.'s tumors and kill her cancer cells; ...


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