Minnesota board allows chiropractor convicted of fraud to practice

  • Article by: ALEJANDRA MATOS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2013 - 10:41 AM

Chiropractor took more than $1.5 million from 20 victims and hasn’t repaid much, but state board is poised to reinstate his license.

A Twin Cities chiropractor with a history of fraud-related felonies is on track to have his license fully reinstated, despite owing more than $1.5 million to 20 victims, some of whom were former patients or colleagues.

Some victims, the Washington County attorney’s office and Attorney General Lori Swanson have ­complained that the state licensing board is letting Dr. Randy Miland get back in the business without paying for his crimes. Ben Wogsland, a ­spokesman for Swanson, said the board’s ­decision to reinstate Miland’s license despite owing more than $1 million to his victims “doesn’t seem sensible.”

Larry Spicer, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners, said requiring Miland to repay his victims as a condition of getting his license back is “completely impermissible. ... The board’s focus is strictly on the license of the individual.”

Spicer said the board’s job is to protect the public and based on documents and rehabilitation provisions, the board believed “it was unlikely that he would engage” in future fraudulent conduct.

In an interview last week, Miland said he takes full responsibility for his past actions and that it is his “full intention” to repay his victims. “I would like to pay everything off tomorrow if I could,” he said. “I don’t have the wherewithal to pay all those judgments, but I don’t have a problem at all with working on payments.”

Miland’s license was suspended by the Board of Chiro­practic Examiners in 1999. That year, he pleaded guilty in Washington County District Court to five counts of theft by swindle involving a bogus scheme to invest in Blockbuster video stores. The board determined that Miland had “exercised influence on several patients in such a manner as to exploit them for financial gain,” according to the 1999 stipulation.

He was released from state custody in 2001 but five years later was convicted in federal court of wire fraud and sentenced to 41 months in prison for a phony high-return real estate scheme.

In 2011, the chiropractic board rescinded Miland’s suspension and allowed him to practice under a probationary license as long as he abstained from drugs and alcohol, passed ethics screenings and paid a $1,000 civil penalty. Now practicing in Vadnais Heights, Miland could have his license fully restored in November.

Modest payments were made

As part of his state sentence, Miland was ordered to make payments to victims of the scheme. Several of his victims said they had received less than $50 a month, even though Miland owed each of them amounts as high as $277,000.

Fred Fink, criminal division chief for the Washington County attorney’s office, said Miland satisfied his obligations under criminal law, which including making modest payments. The court was powerless to enforce the judgments once Miland completed the terms of his sentence in 2004, Fink said. He said the responsibility to collect then fell to the victims.

“We took the level of the theft into account when we dealt with him. That included demanding restitution and obviously he didn’t pay,” Fink said. “As a result, he was able to avoid that responsibility and someone should hold him responsible.”

Swanson sent a letter to the chiropractic board in January emphasizing that point. In a letter to Swanson in May, Spicer wrote “it was Miland’s pledge and the Board’s stated expectation that regaining his licensure would increase his income and facilitate increased restitution payments.”

Robert Harvey, one of Mi­land’s victims, says he hasn’t seen a payment in many years. Harvey invested over $62,000. Harvey still has boxes and three-inch-thick binders brimming with hundreds of documents, letters to the governor and regulatory agencies, along with personal notes and transcripts. He led the group of victims, many of whom were elderly and invested their life savings with Miland, he said.

Harvey is pessimistic that Miland will meet his obligations. “Fifteen years later, we’ve survived this scam, but the same can’t be said for all his victims,” he said. Miland “will get his license back, the victims will not be repaid, and the board will not monitor. It will be forgotten about and he will have a lavish lifestyle and many of his victims will continue to suffer.”

 

Alejandra Matos • 612-673-4028

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