Sarasota authorities say a local physician who was in the process of losing his medical license cheated a Kansas man out of tens of thousands of dollars by falsely diagnosing him with cancer.
Investigators say an unnamed man from the Sunflower State contacted Dr. Ronald Evan Wheeler, a Sarasota-based urinary oncologist, in the spring of 2016. Though they did not specify what prompted the original communication, investigators allege that Wheeler ultimately told the Kansas man over the telephone that he was suffering from prostate cancer despite never having made an in-person examination.
The Kansas man was subsequently examined physically and subjected to an ultrasound, after which Wheeler allegedly informed him that his cancer was aggressive in nature. However, investigators say he made this diagnosis without performing a tissue biopsy, which is necessary to meet a minimum standard of care in such a case.
The Kansas man obtained a second opinion from a doctor in Connecticut a few months later. Though the second doctor carried out a biopsy that yielded a negative result for cancer, Wheeler allegedly told the man that the Connecticut doctor simply missed the man's cancer.
In the fall of 2016 Wheeler allegedly received $46,500 from the Kansas man for a High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) procedure. Wheeler refunded the amount initially, but the Kansas man paid him again to conduct the procedure. The Kansas man's primary physician recommended he see a different oncologist at that point, and investigators say Wheeler agreed to again refund the money. However, they say he terminated communication with the man and pocketed the money.
While Wheeler was allegedly defrauding the Kansas man, he was also under investigation for several instances of malpractice. The investigations ultimately led to the revocation of his medical license last spring - however, investigators say Wheeler never relayed any of this to the man in Kansas, leaving it for another physician to inform him of Wheeler's lack of medical certification.
Sarasota authorities issued an arrest warrant for Wheeler on February 27, and he surrendered himself to police on March 3. He was subsequently booked into jail on a charge of scheming to defraud another of between $20,000 and $50,000. He was released later that day after posting a $50,000 bond.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.