Doctor-Minister Arrested for Fake Cancer Cure Has OC Ties
Another health practitioner with Orange County ties has been arrested on suspicion of prescribing phony cancer cures.
Licensed physician and ordained Pentecostal minister Christine Daniel of Mission Hills was arrested Thursday night in Los Angeles for allegedly taking $1.1 million from 55 families over three years for an herbal cancer "treatment" that resulted in at least six patient deaths in a six-month period.
(The only image Clockwork could find of the 55-year-old was this line drawing from the Wall Street Journal, although there exists online multiple photographs of Christine Daniels, formerly known as Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner.)
Dr. Daniel reportedly appeared on the Costa Mesa-based Christian television network TBN's Praise the Lord program and convinced some viewers to become her patients, stop their medically prescribed cancer treatments and send her $5,000 apiece. At least one rube is claimed to have paid her $13,000 only to die a few months later.
Among the three Southern California hospitals where Daniel has privileges, according to her official website, is Los Alamitos Medical Center. The criminal case against Daniel is similar to that of Daryn Peterson, the 37-year-old Las Vegas resident who the Orange County District Attorney's Office charged last month with unauthorized practice of medicine, operating a health care service plan without a license, treating cancer without a license, offering an unapproved drug for cancer treatment, and misrepresenting himself as a licensed medical practitioner.
Peterson's boasts of rejecting western medicine and reversing cancer through a vitamin regime had been touted in an Orange County Register feature story. Some of the OCDA's evidence was collected by an investigator who posed as one of Peterson's patients and met with the accused in his Mira Loma apartment. Some of Peterson's real patients have since rushed to his defense, even mounting an online legal fund.
Some Peterson supporters travel in the same New Agey circles where you'll find proponents of crystals, ear coning and herbal colon cleansers to cure what ails you. Daniel's business is said to be part of a "Christian wellness" boom that similarly relies on dietary supplements, herbal formulas and diets inspired by Biblical descriptions.
Whoever's inspiring the consumption of these cures, they have one major thing in common: they are lightly regulated.
A Food and Drug Administration investigator's affidavit apparently states that at least three dozen people drank "C-Extract," Daniel's alternative to chemotherapy and other traditional cancer treatments. Some patients bypassed conventional therapies after undertaking Daniel's regimen, and eight people eventually succumbed to their cancers, prosecutors allege.
"These patients were told they were being cured, but they were being eaten alive by cancer," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Johns.
Some patients told the Wall Street Journal they turned to Daniel because she is a minister.
She could reportedly get up to 80 years if the charges stick.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts