Robert Lindsey Duncan, who has appeared on The View and other TV shows hawking nutritional products, was charged by the Texas Attorney General's office on Wednesday with duping the public by claiming to be a doctor when he isn't one.
Duncan, who usually goes by his middle name, claims he is a naturopathic doctor, which is not a recognized type of doctor under Texas law. Plus, the state said, the doctorate he claims was from the defunct unaccredited, distance-learning Clayton College of Natural Health. The school is on a list of institutions whose degrees are illegal to claim, the Attorney General's Office said.
Mr. Duncan's acts and practices mislead the public into believing that he is disseminating health advice or knowledge, but such advice or knowledge is based on educational background and training which he does not have and when his underlying motivation is to sell products in which he has a financial interest, the state's lawsuit alleges.
'Misleading and Deceptive'
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Duncan, who lives in Austin, refers to himself as a doctor and often appears on television wearing a white lab coat and making references to clinical experience and practice to further the belief that he is a medical professional. His goal, Abbott alleged, is to sell vitamins, herbs and other products, making the defendant's continued references to himself as a 'doctor' false, misleading and deceptive.
Duncan, president and CEO of a natural products company called Genesis Pure, faces a penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Education Code, the Attorney General's Office said. The state's lawsuit said total penalties and restitution to allegedly duped consumers could total more than $1 million.
Originally reported by Daily Finance, with some corrections.
Sixteen states and four provinces allow the practice of naturopathic medicine: Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Manitoba, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ontario, Oregon, Saskatchewan, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.