Keith Barton

Keith Barton, convicted of practicing medicine without a license, had promised to cure patients of cancer, AIDS and other illnesses. (KSWB-TV / March 15, 2014)

SAN DIEGO — A 52-year-old La Mesa man Friday was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of practicing medicine without a license and promising to cure patients of AIDS, cancer and other maladies.

Desperate, terminally ill patients paid up to $40,000 to Keith Barton for cures, prosecutors said.

A 60-year-old woman suffering from an autoimmune disease followed Barton's advice to have all her teeth extracted as part of an ineffective treatment called "dentritic cellular therapy," according to court documents.

"By posing as an M.D., providing fake cures and charging thousands of dollars, this defendant showed a callous regard for seriously ill people," said Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis.

A jury in January found Barton guilty of six counts of practicing medicine without a license, one of false impersonation, and three of grand theft.

Barton took some patients to Tijuana for treatments, prosecutors said. He had an office in La Mesa and a website promising "naturopathic medicine."

Part of his deception was the fact that there is a licensed doctor in California with the same name, prosecutors said.

At sentencing, a woman whose 9-year-old daughter died of HIV after receiving one of Barton's alleged cures told the court that, "I miss my daughter very much. I sleep with her teddy bear every night."

The woman had paid Barton $18,000 to cure her and her children, prosecutors said.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATsandiego