Alternative spelling: Lichenthal.
AKA Michael Taylor, Dr. Michael Taylor
Federal informant, husband of psychiatrist Liane J. Leedom.
Noah's Ark Scandal
In August of 2002, Barry Lichtenthal, (also spelled Lichenthal), along with his wife, psychiatrist, Dr. Liane Leedom, opened a clinic for the care and treatment of substance abuse and dependent persons called "Noah's Ark Foundation" in Bridgeport, Conn. Dr. Leedom was the medical director of the clinic. When seeking to obtain the necessary permits for the clinic, Leedom introduced her husband to licensing agents of the State of Connecticut as "Dr. Michael Taylor." She continued to maintain this fraud with staff and patients.
During interviews with the State licensing agents, in the presence of his wife, Liane Leedom, Barry Lichenthal AKA Dr. Michael Taylor, claimed that he was a retired gynecologist and that he had been able to retire because of investments in telecommunications in Florida.
"Dr. Taylor" was placed in charge of the clinic while Dr. Leedom only provided occasional supervision.
Complaints From Patients
In March 2003, the Connecticut Department of Public Health received a complaint about the clinic regarding the unlicensed practice of medicine on the part of Barry Lichenthal, aided and abetted by his wife, Liane Leedom. The complaints additionally alleged that "Dr. Taylor" had sexually abused patients at the clinic.
The Department sent two investigators to the clinic on March 25, 2003, where "Dr. Taylor" was confronted and admitted that his real name was Barry Lichenthal. Dr. Leedom was also questioned and admitted to the investigators that the staff and patients knew her husband as "Dr. Michael Taylor" and that he wore a name tag indicating that he was a doctor and that she "saw no harm in it."
In April of 2003, the Connecticut Department of Public Health received another complaint from the father of a patient at the Noah's Ark clinic to the effect that his daughter had been sexually abused by "Dr. Taylor." This incident (or series of incidents) had led the man to investigate on his own. He had previously contacted the Bridgeport Police Department the FBI, and, apparently, a private investigator. He provided the Department with supporting documents he had obtained in preparation to file a formal complaint. These documents included a news release regarding the sentencing of a Barry Lichenthal AKA Michael Taylor for his role in defrauding investors through his Northeast Telecom, Inc.
Leedom Aids and Abets Lichenthal
Statements and affidavits of many involved persons were taken by the Department of Public Health and a formal list of charges was drawn up and presented to the Medical Examiner's Board on April 11th, 2003. Based on the information obtained from licensing agents of the State of Connecticut, staff, and patients, Liane Leedom was charged with aiding and abetting her husband in the unlicensed practice of medicine. She was also charged with misleading the staff and patients of the facility by presenting her husband as "Dr. Michael Taylor." As the affidavits show, Leedom knew that her husband was routinely accessing confidential medical records, examining patients, prescribing medications and treatment plans, and, in short, fulfilling all of the functions of a doctor when he was not, in fact a physician, licensed or otherwise. Further charges, based on sworn testimony included the fact that, even after being made aware of sexual misconduct with patients on the part of her husband, Leedom continued to allow him to run the clinic, treat patients, and masquerade as a doctor, disregarding entirely the danger to the patients.
The Scandal Breaks
On April 12th, 2003 the story broke in the local Connecticut Post:
Caution: Fake doc can cause side effects; Former patients claim gun play, experiments
By Daniel Tepfer
Former patients complained Friday that they went to Dr. Michael Taylor expecting to find an expert to treat their drug-addiction problems. Instead of a kindly Dr. Jekyll, the patients said they were confronted by a frightening Mr. Hyde. Several people claimed he waved a gun at them and as they waited naked for treatment conducted bizarre experiments on their bodies.
Barry Lichenthal who used the name Dr. Michael Taylor was brought into Superior Court Friday, his hands chained behind his back. Lichenthal, 58, of Old Dyke Road, Trumbull, is charged with second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and practicing medicine without a license.
The portly man with thinning gray hair and large, aviator-style glasses, shifted from one foot to another as he stood before Judge Richard Damiani. "He was preying on this community's weak and less fortunate, masquerading as a trusted member of the medical community," Assistant State's Attorney Charles Stango said. He said Lichenthal has used numerous aliases and is under a federal court order to make restitution of $600,000 for a prior mail fraud conviction. Damiani refused to reduce the $1.75 million bond for Lichenthal, stating he had information the suspect had been planning to go to Florida.
The judge sealed the warrant and continued the case to April 29. But Lichenthal's lawyer, William Dow, contended that such a large bond is usually reserved for accused multiple murderers. He said his client is the father of two children and stepfather of two others. "Allegations don't make a case," Dow said later. "I'm anxious to learn from the state what the basis of the allegations are."
According to sources close to the investigation, Lichenthal who reportedly has no medical license and no formal medical training opened a methadone clinic last summer in the Merritt Medical Building on Main Street with his wife, Liane Leedom, a licensed psychiatrist affiliated with St. Vincent's Medical Center. They named the clinic the Noah's Ark Foundation.
But soon after opening the clinic, Leedom took maternity leave, leaving her husband in charge. The sources said between 60 and 80 people a day would come to the clinic to receive methadone, a synthetic narcotic used to treat heroin addiction. Soon, sources said, Lichenthal began to examine women who came to the clinic, performing breast and gynecological examinations on them without gloves.
The sources said one woman claimed Lichenthal told her and another women to come into a room and take their clothes off. He then began attaching wires to their bodies, telling them he had to determine whether they were lesbians before he could give them methadone. After a few minutes of doing this so-called "alpha test," he proclaimed the women were "straight" and proceeded with their methadone treatment, the sources said.
Another woman said that when she questioned Lichenthal why he was massaging her breasts, he replied he was also a sex therapist and had studied at the Masters and Johnson Institute, the sources said.
Since the story of the allegations against Lichenthal appeared Friday in the Connecticut Post, several former patients have come forward to complain about his treatment of them. A 48-year-old Ansonia woman said she began going to the clinic Jan. 28 for methadone treatment. However, she said, "Dr. Taylor" told her to disrobe in an examination room and then began handling her breasts. "When I asked him why he was doing it, he said, 'Everybody who comes in gets an examination,' " she recounted. "I believed he was a doctor, so I let him do it."
Other former patients recalled that Lichenthal had waved around a handgun, telling them he was a former FBI agent who had killed people. And other patients said Lichenthal was not careful about how much methadone he dispensed, and often over-medicated them.
Apparently there were more serious problems that resulted from the Leedom-Lichenthal deception. The Associated Press reported on 29 May, 2003:
Woman says phony doctor led to miscarriage
A Trumbull woman claims she lost her unborn child because of electric shock therapy and methadone treatments prescribed by a phony doctor. The 22-year-old woman filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Barry Lichtenthal, who is being held on criminal charges that he posed as Dr. Michael Taylor and performed gynecological exams on women in his wife's methadone clinic.
According to the court documents obtained by the Connecticut Post, the woman claims Lichtenthal told her the treatments were necessary. He allegedly told her he was a former FBI agent and would send her to jail if she didn't comply. She is suing Lichtenthal and his wife, Dr. Liane Leedom.
Lichtenthal, 58, is charged with second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and practicing medicine without a license. He is being held in lieu of $1.75 million. Leedom ran the Noah's Ark Foundation, a state-licensed methadone clinic that has since been shut down. Leedom's license is suspended. The woman says she met with Lichtenthal daily for five months. She said he told her the methadone would not harm the fetus.
A year later Lichenthal/Lichtenthal peaded guity and was sentenced as reported on News12.com:
Trumbull man convicted of impersonating a doctor to molest patients
(03/02/04) TRUMBULL - The husband of a Trumbull psychiatrist has admitted impersonating a doctor to molest his wife's patients, and now faces five years in prison. Barry Lichenthal, 59, pleaded guilty earlier this week to fourth-degree sexual assault, practicing medicine without a license, and reckless endangerment. Police say Lichenthal worked under the name of Doctor Michael Taylor at his wife's Bridgeport drug clinic, the Noah's Ark Foundation. He will be sentenced March 26.
How a Swindler Became a Doctor
The Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger did an investigative report on Lichenthal/Lichtenthal published 26 May 2004:
How a swindler became a doctor
By John P. Martin
Barry Lichtenthal doesn't fit the image of the wickedly smooth con man. He's 59, plump, with thinning gray hair and wide-rimmed eyeglasses. He says he has had two heart attacks and has a shaky gallbladder and diabetes. But he must have something else.
Three years ago, the onetime Colts Neck resident persuaded a federal judge and prosecutors to free him after he served barely half of a 30-month prison term for swindling more than $600,000 from investors. Lichtenthal had helped FBI agents crack a nationwide telemarketing fraud ring. He also promised to reform his ways - for his wife and son.
"I was a con man for most of my adult life," he told U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden during one hearing in the case. "I've stopped doing all that because I want to build a life for them."
Lichtenthal stood before the same judge in Newark yesterday, charged with violating his probation. Suddenly it wasn't clear if or when his con ever ended.
Months after being freed from prison, he moved to Connecticut, remarried, posed as a doctor and pharmacist, ripped off Medicare, made female patients at a drug clinic strip and assaulted some of them - all while he was supposed to be under the supervision of federal probation officers. At least five women who visited the Bridgeport clinic where Lichtenthal and his wife worked have sued him, claiming he subjected them to improper examinations or mistreatment. One woman contends she lost her pregnancy after Lichtenthal performed electroshock therapy on her. Two victims told police Lichtenthal ordered them to strip and touch each other while he monitored them with a device he called "a sexual orientation" machine, according to John DeMattia, a supervisory assistant state's attorney in Connecticut. "He's one of the worst guys I have ever run across," DeMattia said.
Lichtenthal was sentenced in March to five years in state prison there on charges that included fraud, endangerment and sexual assault. Yesterday, Hayden ordered him to serve 18 months in federal prison once he completes his state term.
The judge said she isn't a psychiatrist but that Lichtenthal's deception appeared compulsive. "I'm talking about something that just keeps happening," Hayden said. "It just concerns me that it keeps happening and people keep getting hurt."
According to court records, Lichtenthal's first conviction came 21 years ago, when he was ordered to serve three years for fraud. In 1989, he pleaded guilty to forgery charges in Morris County, and five years later was accused of violating his probation.
In 1998, Lichtenthal admitted to skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds from one bogus investment deal to buy a luxury home in Colts Neck, diamond rings and $265,000 worth of toy trains. He also agreed to help prosecutors build a bigger case against the operators of a wider telemarketing fraud ring that bilked millions of dollars from investors. His cooperation was expected to win him a light prison term. But even before his sentencing, Lichtenthal was in trouble again.
Though he claimed to be indigent, he managed to rent an apartment along Manhattan's posh Central Park South, used the name "Dr. Michael Taylor" to get health benefits and possessed guns in violation of his bail conditions. "Your honor, If I'm guilty of anything in this instance, it was trying to make a better life for my wife and family after they lost everything the way I screwed up," he told the judge after the accusations were disclosed at a bail hearing, according to a transcript.
The prosecutor at the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay McMahon, urged the judge to be skeptical. "This man is a con man, and I think he's trying to con this court now," he said. "We submit that he's a danger to the community."
Eighteen months later, the U.S. Attorney's office changed its stance and petitioned Hayden to release Lichtenthal early from prison, citing his continued cooperation. Hayden agreed, but ordered that Lichtenthal remain under the supervision of probation officers.
Within months, he moved to Connecticut and not long after married Liane Leedom, a psychiatrist who ran a methadone clinic and therapy center in Bridgeport. In early 2002, prosecutors there say, Lichtenthal began working at the clinic as Dr. Michael Taylor. For the next year, he performed examinations, doled out prescriptions and submitted payment invoices to Medicare, even when his wife wasn't there. "When she was having a baby, he ran the whole place," DeMattia said.
In lawsuits, clients at the clinic said Lichtenthal ordered them to come for treatment every day, touched them during examinations and told them he was an ex-FBI agent and had guns. "I think that what he would do typically was to scare them into believing either that he had the power to make them better or alternatively the power to make their life worse," said Nate Nasser, an attorney for six clients. "He did threaten them that if they didn't go along with his program, then there would be problems for them."
It is unclear if Lichtenthal hid his behavior from probation officials or if they never monitored him. The terms of his release required him to regularly report his whereabouts, income and occupation. His probation officer, Dennis Linder, did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.
In spring 2003, Bridgeport police began investigating after a woman complained that a doctor at the clinic examined her pelvic area without surgical gloves. Lichtenthal was arrested soon after and ultimately pleaded guilty to larceny, conspiracy, endangerment and sexual assault charges. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to be listed on the state's register of known sex offenders, DeMattia said.
His attorney, Frank Canace, yesterday said Lichtenthal probably won't be free from prison until 2009. But he told the judge Lichtenthal wanted to have a more productive life. "He would like an opportunity for rehabilitation," Canace said.
Dr. Leedom was arrested the following January (2004), charged with larceny and several counts of fraud for aiding and abetting her husband to practice medicine without a license, and in May, 2005, her Medical License was Reprimanded and Restricted. As a result of her experience with Barry Lichenthal/Lichtenthal, Liane Leedom has gone on to a new career: online sociopathy expert and author claiming that her motivation is her great fear is that her son, fathered by Lichenthal/Lichtenthal, may be a sociopath "Just Like His Father".