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Greek Police Say Cypriots Duped, Bilked by Fake Doctor Too

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Michalis Karagiannis)

ATHENS - Hellenic Police (ELAS) investigators said Cypriots were also likely treated by a fake doctor in Greece who is accused of posing as a specialist, with three of his cancer patients, including two teens, dying.

The police are trying to identify who in Cyprus may have been patients of Nikos Kontothanasis, who called himself Nikos Kontos, and claimed to be an expert on plants and was said to have prescribed botanical treatments, including marijuna.

Breaking with Greek privacy laws which don’t reveal names of accused, and sometimes even of those convicted, police revealed his real name to aid in their investigations which so far, said Kathimerini Cyprus, have found he was paid scores of thousands of euros from at least 45 patients although it wasn’t said how he was able to pose or had a fake license.

He had promised them a miracle cure based on dubious ingredients found on the Internet, some of which were said to have contained marijuana and it wasn’t said either why people fell for that line of treatment or if he was affiliated with a hospital.

The paper said the police expanded the investigation to search for potential victims from Cyprus after information was received that Kontothanasis sent by mail to Cypriot patients packages containing so-called drugs.

Greek officers went after him after lawsuit filed earlier this year by the parents of two teenagers, aged 14 and 16, who died of cancer after following his treatment regimen and a third complaint by the daughter of his third known victim, a 76-year-old man who was also suffering from cancer.

After more than two months of trying to track down the suspect investigators got a break in their case thanks to a cashed check from the father of one of the two boys who died in his care. It wasn’t said if the fake doctor had an office or operated only online.

According to ELAS, the boy’s family had paid around 15,000 euros ($16,846) for an “alternative treatment” to their son’s cancer. Another patient who had signed up for the bogus doctor’s treatment is said to paid about 30,000 euros ($33,692.)

Kontothansis is also being investigated in connection with a 2005 business scam worth around 50 million euros ($56.15 million) in which he allegedly posed as a representative of a secret US government agency looking for brokers to sell telecoms equipment to countries like China and North Macedonia, the paper said.

He was taken into custody by police on June 22, ELAS appealing for witnesses who may have fallen victim to one of his schemes or have knowledge of any crimes he may have committed to come forward.