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Unlicensed Doc Accused of Giving Fake Exams to Immigrants

An unlicensed doctor bilked hundreds of immigrants by performing fake medical exams and injecting them with a saline solution he claimed was a vaccine, prosecutors said Thursday.

Stephen Brian Turner took $247,000 from 1,417 victims, most of whom thought they were receiving legitimate immigration medical exams, said San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. Immigrants are required to get routine physicals and vaccinations to become citizens.

"Instead of helping these people, this defendant allegedly manipulated them for his own personal profit," Harris said in a statement.

Turner, 51, faces more than 100 counts of various felony charges, including practicing medicine without a license, mishandling blood samples and grand theft, prosecutors said. He was being held in jail Thursday on $1.45 million bail.

Prosecutors said he surrendered his California medical license in 1998, but continued seeing patients until late last year.

Turner injected patients with saline rather than vaccines for illnesses such as mumps and rubella, investigators said in court documents. He also is accused of drawing blood for AIDS and syphilis tests that were never performed.

Herman Franck, Turner's lawyer, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Authorities are encouraging Turner's former patients to have medical exams performed again by another doctor.