An antigovernment “sovereign citizen” known as “Dr. Rick,” who practiced medicine without a license, resulting in at least one death, has been indicted on multiple charges in Las Vegas.
The new formal charges against David “Rick” Van Thiel came after Nevada and federal investigators spent eight months attempting to locate and interview more than 100 patients who received various medical treatments and surgeries at the suspect’s ramshackle complex in the last four years.
The illegal medical complex in residential Las Vegas was protected by surveillance cameras when it was raided last September by police and FBI agents after the city’s business licensing office received complaints. One witness described the operation as a “scene from a horror movie.”
The Clark County grand jury indictment, which was returned June 16, accuses Van Thiel of sexual assault, child abuse and 17 counts of practicing medicine without a license resulting in substantial bodily harm.
He has been separately indicted in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms – a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and a MAC-10 assault-style rifle found in the complex where he performed medical procedures for months. His trial on the federal firearms charges has been set for Aug. 23.
Van Thiel has not been charged with homicide, but Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said last week that investigators are waiting for a medical examiner’s report on how at least one of “Dr. Rick’s patients died in June 2015, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Van Thiel boasted online about performing dozens of abortions, circumcisions, castrations, root canals and cancer treatments. He also treated AIDS patients and people with sexually transmitted and life-threatening diseases, sometimes providing “ozone treatments” at “unbeatable prices” in exchange for Bitcoins, gold and silver and firearms.
Van Thiel never attended medical school and isn’t a licensed physician, authorities say, but he does have a criminal history showing he served prison time in California and Nevada for battery, robbery, attempted robbery, burglary and assault.
“Dr. Rick,” as he called himself in online advertisements, denounced the licensing of physicians, blasted conventional medicine, vaccinations, the pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, GMOs and government regulations of health care.
He boasted that he was a self-taught physician educated by watching YouTube videos, contending that government has no right to regulate prostitution or the practice of medicine because they involve “only consenting individuals.”
Van Thiel joined other antigovernment conspiracy extremists in claiming that the U.S. government is secretly killings its citizens with chemtrails.
Before becoming immersed in the “sovereign citizen” movement, Van Thiel worked as a porn star, male escort and sex toy inventor in Las Vegas.