The Cobb County district attorney’s office has convinced a grand jury to add 80 counts to the charges for each member of a trio who allegedly ran an illegal medical practice.
Former doctor Nathaniel Johnson III, suspended doctor Peter Ulbrich and secretary Shannon Denise Williams were all re-indicted on the additional counts Thursday, court records show. They were already facing 10 counts each.
The new indictment outlines in better detail how the three ran an unregulated medical practice where, allegedly, unlicensed doctors performed surgery and a secretary played nurse.
Half of the 90 charges are theft and racketeering counts that accuse them of bilking patients by tricking them into paying for unlicensed services.
Johnson served six months in Fulton County jail for the fraud.
Three years before that, the medical board issued an emergency suspension of Johnson’s license following the death of a woman during a liposuction he was performing.
Cobb’s medical examiner found the cause of death to be lidocaine toxicity, and the medical board subsequently barred Johnson from performing cosmetic surgery. The patient’s family also sued him, but the lawsuit was permanently dismissed in Fulton County court in August 2011.
The indictment alleges that Johnson ran three medical facilities registered in Cobb — Hello Beautiful, Genesis Medical Aesthetics and Royal Advanced Healthcare Centers — using Ulbrich’s name as a cover.
Prosecutors said Johnson would write prescriptions in Ulrich’s name with Ulbrich’s permission.
Sometimes Johnson would do the pre-op work, and Ulbrich would meet the patient for the first time in the operating room, according to the indictment. Ulbrich would then watch Johnson perform surgery, which he was specifically barred from doing after a patient died during one of his previous surgeries.
Ulbrich's license was suspended in August after failing a polygraph test when asked about "sexual encounters" with patients. He admitted to sexual contact with four former female patients after leaving a rehabilitation program in Kansas. The suspension came three months after his May 2017 arrest.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reviews of records revealed that it is not unusual for the state medical board to allow doctors with a history of malpractice, patient sex abuse or other violations to return to practice. The doctor-dominated medical board routinely sends errant physicians to classes and therapy programs and then allows them to see patients again.
The AJC recently revisited the investigation only to find that the problems were still pervasive, uncovering 450 cases of doctors who were brought before medical regulators or courts for sexual misconduct or sex crimes in 2016 and 2017 — in nearly half of those cases the doctors remain licensed to practice medicine.
Ulbrich's medical license is still listed as "suspended."
Ben Brasch is the reporter tasked with keeping Fulton County government accountable. The Florida native moved to Atlanta for a job with The AJC. If there's something important to you going on in Fulton, he wants to know about it. Help him better metro Atlanta by dropping a line, anonymously or otherwise.