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R.I. man said to have posed as a doctor

PROVIDENCE -- An Exeter man who prosecutors say lied about being a doctor and bilked customers out of about $1.4 million is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in federal court.

The man John Curran, 40, was arrested on Friday by federal agents. Also that day, a federal grand jury indicted him on charges including 19 counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering.

The indictment states Curran led his clients to believe he was a doctor and a naturopathic healer, despite having no legitimate degrees. He allegedly provided fraudulent services to 354 people between January 2003 and December 2004.

Curran worked at Rhode Island Health Aid and then at the Northeastern Institute for Advanced Healing in Providence, according to the indictment.

James E. O'Neil, the former Rhode Island attorney general who is representing Curran, said his client would plead not guilty.

While practicing, Curran allegedly said he could cure life-threatening diseases. He told clients they had parasites in their blood, severely reduced blood cell counts, and holes in their blood, according to the indictment.

Curran also allegedly developed scams to treat his patients. As one treatment, he sold ''E-Water," which he said had the same healing properties as the water from the shrine in in Lourdes, France. The indictment states that E-Water was distilled water that had been put through a blender.

To buttress his credentials, prosecutors say Curran said he had obtained a medical degree from St. Luke's School of Medicine. But the indictment states the school is an online, unaccredited program in Liberia. He also wore name plates that identified him as an ''M.D." and advertised himself in promotional materials as such, according to the indictment.

The indictment also said that Curran used two devices that are not licensed for diagnostic purposes: a microscope that shows enlarged views of blood cells on a screen and a device that measures electrical resistance in skin.

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