Fake Florida doctor tested people for diabetes by having them hold metal rod, cops say

Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez, from Brooksville, Florida, posed as a doctor and had patients hold a metal rod connected to a machine to test for diabetes and cancer, and then had people pay to be cured, police say.
Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez, from Brooksville, Florida, posed as a doctor and had patients hold a metal rod connected to a machine to test for diabetes and cancer, and then had people pay to be cured, police say. Hernando County Sheriff's Office

Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez promised he could diagnose diabetes, cancer and other illnesses by having people hold a metal rod connected to a beeping machine, Florida police say.

And after telling people they had life-threatening illnesses, police say, Hipolit-Gonzalez promised to cure them for a price, according to Fox13.

The 73-year-old Brooksville man was arrested Thursday because police say he was posing as a doctor — and promised he could cure a person’s diabetes by drawing their blood and putting it back into their bloodstream, as reported by Fox13.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office charged him with posing as a doctor without a license and using a device to facilitate a felony.

Police say an undercover detective arranged a meeting with Hipolit-Gonzalez, who was promoting himself as a doctor on the website Elclassificado, which is geared towards the Hispanic community, according to WFLA.

The Florida Department of Health said the man called himself a doctor on the website, WFLA reported, but he was not licensed to practice within the state.

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When the undercover deputy arrived Thursday, he first had to pay $160 before the appointment began, police say. Hipolit-Gonzalez then promised to test the man for “everything” and had him a hold a metal rod that was hooked up to a machine, police told WFLA.

Hipolit-Gonzalez told the deputy that the machine, which was making noises, found he had “50 percent fat in his liver,” “his gallbladder was not in good health” and he had other issues such as diabetes and high cholesterol, police say, according to WTSP.

“Hipolit-Gonzalez then told the patient that he had previously cured the owner of the house (they were using) of his diabetes,” a police spokesperson said, according to WTSP. “He never identified the owner but quickly called him on the phone to get his testimony.”

For $2,000, the man offered a treatment plan to “cure” the deputy’s diabetes, according to Fox13. He informed the undercover officer that he would take some of his blood — and then put it back in his body, police say. He promised this treatment “combats” diabetes, police say.

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Denise Moloney, a spokesperson for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, told WFLA this was a “very unusual” case.

“Basically he’s taking people’s money and telling them he’s going to cure them,” she said, according to WFLA. “First time I’ve heard of something like this.”

Police say they arrested the man during the “doctor’s appointment” — and he expressed shock that he’d broken any laws, Fox13 reported.

“When asked if he had any type of medical schooling, training or background, Hipolit-Gonzalez stated that he was a lab technician in Cuba and when he moved to Florida he went to school to get a certificate for Iridology, herbology, and nutrition,” police say, according to WTSP.

He has since been released on bond, according to inmate booking information.

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Real-Time reporter Josh Magness covers breaking national news and trending news to keep readers of McClatchy’s newspapers up to date with the latest high-profile stories. He previously interned at McClatchy’s bureau in Washington, D.C, while covering the U.S. Congress.