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Tampa man posed as doctor, offered to cure diabetes for just $2,000, Hernando deputies say Tampa man posed as doctor, offered to cure diabetes for just $2,000, Hernando deputies say

Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez, 73, now faces charges of practicing health care without a license and unlawfully using a two-way communication device.
Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez, 73, faces charges of practicing health care without a license and unlawfully using a two-way communication device.
Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez, 73, faces charges of practicing health care without a license and unlawfully using a two-way communication device.
Published Feb. 13, 2019

BROOKSVILLE — Onelio Hipolit-Gonzalez isn't a doctor but claimed to be one in online ads, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

So investigators set up a sting, they said, and caught the 73-year-old pretender hooking up a patient to a machine, diagnosing his health problems and offering to cure him for $2,000.

They arrested Hipolit-Gonzalez on Feb. 6 on charges of practicing health care without a license and unlawfully using a two-way communication device.

The Tampa man's arrest was the result of a joint operation conducted by Hernando sheriff's deputies and investigators from the Florida Department of Health.

The state investigators first found Hipolit-Gonzalez' listing on an advertisement website geared toward the Hispanic community. In the ad, he claimed he could treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and a host of other conditions. He wore a white doctor's coat in a photo, and the caption read, "Dr. Onelio Hipolit," according to the Sheriff's Office.

However, the 73-year-old has never had a medical license in Florida, investigators said.

Deputies arranged to have someone working undercover pose as a patient and call Hipolit-Gonzalez to schedule an appointment at a house in Brooksville. Hipolit-Gonzalez asked the patient to pay $160 on arrival, deputies said, which he did.

Then he put a band around the patient's head and had him hold a metal rod, deputies said. The band and rod were connected to a machine and it started beeping. Hipolit-Gonzalez said the machine was testing nearly everything in the man's body, deputies said.

Hipolit-Gonzalez told the patient he had several different medical issues, but could cure the man of diabetes in several visits and at a cost of $2,000, deputies said. That treatment would include injecting the patient with his "own blood," the Sheriff's Office said. That's when deputies took him into custody.

Hipolit-Gonzalez told deputies he didn't believe he needed a license to practice medicine, the Sheriff's Office said, and that he had been a lab technician in Cuba and attended school in Florida for iridology, herbology and nutrition.

He said he had bought the testing machine online, and that it required no training to use. Men needed to hold the metal rod with their left hand, women with their right, he told deputies. He said it diagnoses "everything," deputies said.

When asked about his comment regarding blood, Hipolit-Gonzalez told deputies he meant he would draw the patient's blood and re-inject it. He said he doesn't inject his own blood into patients.

He was booked in the Hernando jail, and freed the next day after posting $10,000 bail.

Deputies asked that anyone who has information about this case or who has been treated by Hipolit-Gonzalez to call them at (352) 754-6830.

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Contact Justin Trombly at jtrombly@tampabay.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.

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