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West Jordan • The chiropractor had to remove his blazer so the handcuffs could be secured.
Brandon Babcock, who conned elderly patients out of hundreds and thousands of dollars with a scheme that promised to rid the patients of chronic ailments, thyroid problems and diabetes, was sentenced Monday to six months in jail.
Though far short of the up to 30 years Babcock faced after a jury convicted him in October of six counts of third-degree felony exploiting a vulnerable adult, the sentence was a far cry from the probation-only sentence he had hoped for.
Babcock, 38, took one last look at the judge Monday, shrugged off the black, velvet jacket and offered his wrists to the courtroom bailiff, who led him away in silence.
His wife sobbed in the gallery, while two former patients of the disgraced chiropractor declared that Babcock had gotten off easy as they walked out of the room.
Third District Judge Terry Christiansen ordered Babcock to serve six months in jail one month for each of the six counts of third-degree felony exploiting a vulnerable adult of which a jury had convicted Babcock in October. He was acquitted of four identical charges.
Babcock's chiropractic license was suspended by emergency order from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing last year.
Unable to practice and, now, a convicted felon, Babcock told the judge that this ordeal has "ruined" his life.
"I never set out to have any of this happen. ... It's been an absolutely horrific experience from start to finish," he said in court. "I'm terribly sorry. This isn't something I'd wish on anyone. I do feel remorseful, and I plead today for your mercy."
But the judge sided with prosecutors, who asked that Babcock be sentenced to one month in jail for each victim he was convicted of conning.
"I think you need to serve some time; you exploited some very vulnerable people," Christiansen told Babcock on Monday. "You took advantage of these elderly people."
Christiansen said he hoped the jail term would act as a deterrent to any other less-than-honorable medical providers considering taking advantage of their patients to turn a quick profit.
"This court system will not allow someone to take advantage of these people," the judge said.
Babcock was also ordered to serve three years probation and repay $3,804 in restitution.
According to charging documents, potential patients were initially treated to a free gourmet dinner where they were shown video testimonials and given information about the chiropractor's "diabetes breakthrough."
When they expressed interest in the program, some said, Babcock and his staff duped them into signing up for credit without their knowledge or consent. Others said Babcock refused to refund their money despite a 30-day opt-out guarantee and a promise for 100 percent satisfaction.
What was pitched as a "free consultation" wound up costing these patients hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Several of Babcock's former patients who ranged in age from 61 to 84 had testified at the chiropractor's five-day trial.
The victims referred to Babcock as "the doctor." Several told police they were never made aware of the fact that Babcock was, instead, a chiropractor. They were old and sick and desperate, they said, and they thought "the doctor" could help.
Babcock's scheme hinged on tricking people into signing papers that established lines of credit with Chase Health Advance and then maxing out the $6,000 limit when patients tried to withdraw from Babcock's services, according to testimony.
The 8-person jury took one hour and 19 minutes to decide Babcock's fate.
Chase Health Advance eventually repaid nearly half a million dollars to people who claimed they were bilked by Babcock.
"It's not enough," said Joe Montoya, a former patient of Babcock's, who narrowly avoided being conned to the same extent as some of the chiropractor's other victims and attended Monday's sentencing. "For what he did to these people, for him to get such a light sentence? It's baloney."
Twitter: @Marissa_Jae Brandon Babcock's chiropractic license has been suspended
•West Jordan City revoked Babcock's business license in August 2012 after he was formally charged.
• The Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing suspended Babcock's chiropractic license by emergency order in April 2012. But Babcock can appeal that decision and could eventually regain the ability to practice.
• In the time since his license has been revoked, Babcock has led seminars throughout the country in hotels from Idaho to Florida, where he touts a nutritional program to reverse Type II diabetes.
• On May 18, 2013, Babcock was cited by police in Chandler, a suburb of Tempe, Ariz., for selling supplements without a city permit.
• In 2008, DOPL issued Babcock a cease and desist order after the agency found he was advertising for his business, offering treatment for depression, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, learning problems, attention deficit disorder, allergies, hormone replacement relief, sleep problems and memory loss, despite not being licensed to treat any of the above. He was not formally reprimanded.