A former Sarasota doctor is facing additional charges after police say he offered medical services and alternative medical treatment to a man whom he diagnosed with prostate cancer, but who turned out not to have cancer at all.
Ronald Wheeler, 71, was arrested and charged with a scheme to defraud $20,000-$50,000 after Sarasota police say he offered the services and medical treatment to a man between May 2016 and January 2018.
Wheeler was previously charged with unlicensed practice of a health care professional in July after an investigation began because of an anonymous complaint to the Department of Health that he was seeing patients despite having his medical license revoked.
In May 2016 the victim, who lives in Kansas, contacted Wheeler, who at the time was a licensed, practicing doctor. Wheeler specialized in urology and the treatment of prostate cancer in Sarasota.
According to police, Wheeler told the man over the phone that he likely had cancer and needed to start oral chemotherapy immediately.
After an in-person exam and ultrasound was completed, Wheeler told the man he had an aggressive prostate cancer, detectives said, but did not perform a tissue biopsy, which is the minimal standard of care to make such a determination, according to the Florida Board of Medicine.
Then, Wheeler sent the victim to a colleague in Connecticut in June 2016, but doctors there told the man that a tissue biopsy showed no signs of cancer.
When the man reported this to Wheeler, he told him they missed the cancer.
In August 2016, the man wired $46,500 at Wheeler’s request to pay for a HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) procedure to cure his cancer, detectives said. After a delay, the victim requested and received a refund. But in November 2016, Wheeler told the victim his procedure was back on schedule and the man again transferred the $46,500.
The man talked with his personal physician who counseled him to find another provider. He decided to ask for his money back a second time. Wheeler agreed at first but then stopped communicating with the victim completely.
According to detectives, throughout the process, Wheeler didn’t tell the man he was in danger of losing his license because of several cases of malpractice. On April 20, 2017, Wheeler’s license was revoked and the man learned about it only when he visited another doctor in Sarasota in June.
He also learned during the visit that he had no cancer at all, detectives said.
A warrant was issued for Wheeler’s arrest at the end of February. He turned himself in to the Sarasota County Jail on Monday.