Vidoje “Willy” Peric, a naturalized Swiss originally from Serbia, claimed to have a medical diploma from the Belgrade military academy but could not produce an original copy, the Corriere del Ticino newspaper reported.
He treated patients in Savosa, a village near Lugano, as well as in German-speaking Switzerland and Cuba, according to the report.
More than 30 years ago the man was caught passing himself off as a doctor in Serbia, the prosecution said.
Yet he managed to continue practising in Switzerland despite having twice failed in attempts to obtain a Swiss federal diploma in medicine.
After one failed examination Swiss experts maintained that Peric “knows medicine less than any man on the street”.
While practising as a “doctor” he offered unconventional treatments including therapy for the nervous system and ozone therapy, which involves drawing blood from a patient and mixing it with ozone before re-injecting it, the ATS news agency reported.
A German patient of his suffered from blood poisoning as a result of an unhygienic syringe, the news agency said.
Peric also enriched himself through the illegal sale of medicine, the court heard.
Because of the gravity of the case, the prosecution sought to put him behind bars for three years despite his elderly age.
The defence lawyer argued that in most cases patients were satisfied with his client’s work.
The court handed down a sentence of six months in jail combined with a 22-month sentence suspended for three years.
Judge Mauro Ermani accused Peric of making “lies a code of behaviour”, the Corriere del Ticino said.
But because he has already spent 170 days in preventive custody, Peric got to walk out of the court a free man.
The judge imposed a three-year ban on his working in the medical field
Amazingly, Corriere del Ticino reported that the convicted man had already spent three short stints in jail through sentences handed out between 2007 and 2011 but he continued to practice each time upon his release.