Plea seen as possible next week for former spa owner

A former Medford spa owner whom local police refer to as a "snake oil salesman" could face more than 10 years in prison if he pleads guilty to 45 counts of fraud and theft next week in Deschutes County.

Todd Surgeon will appear Wednesday in Deschutes County Circuit Court on charges he and an accomplice, Laurie Jeanne Rose, 42, stole about $49,000 from one victim through a scheme tied to the purchase of a wellness center franchise. There were several other victims in the Bend area, police said.

Investigators allege the pair sold or attempted to sell securities even though they are not licensed to do so.

The duo "made numerous omissions and false statements of material fact concerning the company, their history and the securities being sold," Bend police said in a news release.

On Wednesday, Rose pleaded "no contest" to charges of aggravated theft, theft and selling unlicensed securities. She was given a 75-day jail sentence.

The (Bend) Bulletin reports that Rose was given a lighter sentence in return for testifying against Surgeon.

Surgeon, 40, has been indicted on 45 criminal counts, including multiple charges of first-degree aggravated theft, identity theft, securities fraud, issuing a false financial statement and selling unregistered securities.

"Surgeon was born about 100 years too late," Medford police Deputy Chief Tim George said. "He would have made a perfect snake oil salesman."

Surgeon first made headlines in 1999 when he trumpeted his plan to raise $20 million for charities in the Rogue Valley. He proposed opening a string of 777 leisure-products showrooms around the country, with a significant amount of the profit to be directed toward local charities.

Surgeon took money for the spas but never delivered on the plans. Police discovered he was selling fraudulent securities in his company, Team Americana Inc.

Medford detectives spent nine months investigating Surgeon, which paid off in 2000 when he was charged with racketeering. He was released from the Jackson County Jail on his own recognizance before trial and moved to Las Vegas, only to be arrested there on theft charges. While he was serving a prison sentence in Nevada in 2005, he was charged in Jackson County and brought back to face trial.

Surgeon still owes the bulk of the $266,935 in restitution to 32 victims in his Jackson County case, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.

According to Surgeon's Facebook page, he is the chief executive officer and founder of Surgeon's Inc., which he describes as a "proud franchise of the Surgeons Now brand, the most innovative Natural Healing company in the world."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail

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