Over a hundred people have been scammed, including four minors, by fake claims made by spinal cord injury treatments, in a case valued at over a million euro.
The Guardia Civil, a part of their operation entitled “Summas”, have disbanded a group of individuals believed to be responsible for the scam, and have arrested two people (a man and a woman of Spanish nationality) and investigated a third (another woman of Spanish nationality) for the alleged crimes of aggravated fraud and against public health.
During the operation, the officers seized a variety of goods, including various glass jars that held liquid substances that were believed to be administered to the victims of the scam.
The operation began in early 2017, when investigators learned of an “unusual” therapeutic practice being offered by a medical centre in the city of Valencia, offering a cure for spinal cord injuries. Such therapy, consisting of four phases, began with a 4,000€ payment.
Investigators discovered that the treatment consisted of therapeutic massage and the administration of homeopathic products. Tests and reports were obtained from the Valencia Health Service, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, referral hospitals nationwide, medical professionals in the field of spinal cord injury and associations representing people who have suffered such injuries, all concluding that the prospects of healing the condition, by the means being offered, lacked evidence of evaluation and control by the Spanish health authorities.
According to the Guardia Civil, “the fundamental element of the dissemination and uptake of victims was made possible through the website of the clinic, existing only the possibility of contact with them through the messaging system that page.”
At all times, and although the website, “the secrecy and lack of clarity offered raised suspicions of researchers and health authorities of the true purpose of the therapy.” With the future promise of a recovery “influenced on victims, especially vulnerable people because in many cases the situation of irreversibility of this injury, who were prepared to make significant financial outlays for submission to therapy in order to achieve improvement or healing that spread.” The phrase “now or never” effectively “blackmailed” patients, with prospective patients warned that if they did not hire their services, and since they were the only clinic who offered such treatment, they would never again serve them.
During the course of the investigation the investigators obtained several testimonies of victims who agreed to have felt deceived by the detainees.
From the facts of the investigation published so far, the investigators warn that the case remains open and, despite the investigation being conducted in Valencia, also covers a clinic offering the same treatment in Elche.