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Doctor's name illegally used in OC pot scam

February 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Orange County investigators are trying to unravel an alleged medical marijuana scam.Police served a search warrant at a building in Orange Monday night and were at the location all day Tuesday. They're focusing on an office called Medical Marijuana Evaluations Now, essentially a very small room with a few chairs and a desk.

"This is a fake license they sold me," said medical marijuana patient Mario Chavez. Chavez paid $25, thinking the certificate would approve him for medical marijuana when presented at a dispensary.

"They didn't let me get my medicine because it was a fake license," said Chavez.

Chavez returned to the office in Orange that gave him the false paperwork. Its Web site is MedicalMarijuanaEvaluationsNow.com.

"I feel like I got burned," said Chavez.

Orange Police officers also showed up after getting a complaint from Dr. Francois Phong Bui. He's listed as the doctor recommending marijuana for patients. The problem: He has nothing to do with the company.

"Somebody has forged my signature and with my license and my name on the certificate," said Bui, who is filing a lawsuit.

Bui is an OB-GYN in Westminster. He does prescribe medical marijuana but only for chronic conditions or terminally ill people.

Bui learned the company was using his name only after being contacted by marijuana dispensaries that were verifying what they thought were his patients. In fact Bui had never met them.

Eyewitness News was not been able to contact anyone with the company. According to its Web site, it charges between $75 for an evaluation and $25 for a renewal.

Orange Resident Jay Selig wanted to get his mother's marijuana prescription renewed.

"That's what the marijuana is for, her cancer," said Selig.

"Twenty-five dollars is a good deal to get it renewed. You can't beat it," said Selig.

Until he was told more about the company.

"I'm upset at them that they're scamming a lot of people that really, legitimately need this," said Selig.

Police are investigating. They took two people in for questioning. They were later released.

Chavez did get his money refunded.

Dr. Bui plans to sue to stop the company from using his name.

"This is quite dangerous and so I just want to make sure everybody is aware of this," said Bui.

Officials said that Tina Goods, a woman who works in the office, has not been seen since Monday night when police arrived to talk to her.