I-Team: Dr. D's latest victims evicted from Central Valley homes

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The I-Team has learned more clients are getting evicted from Northern California sober living homes run by Richard Diffenderfer.

"Dr. D" is at it again. More clients are getting evicted from his sober houses in Northern California because he has failed to pay the bills. The ABC7 News I-Team has also learned "Dr. D" is now under criminal investigation for possible theft and fraud. The I-Team first investigated "Dr. D" after his clients in Sonoma County came to us for help. Now, he's heard from "Dr. D's" clients in the Central Valley that they're getting evicted, too.

Richard Diffenderfer has packed houses around Northern California with people looking for a safe place to live and stay clean. He advertises himself as a doctor for "Harmony Mountain Treatment," providing sober living environments and counseling services.

After hearing complaints, the I-Team checked into his background. His doctorate is an online degree in "life experience," he is not certified by the state for any form of counseling, and he has a criminal record -- fraud and grand theft auto. Now, the I-Team has confirmed he's under investigation again, this time in Rohnert Park.

"We have two active investigations occurring right now of reports of theft and fraud," Rohnert Park Police Sgt. Jeff Justice said. Those investigations began after his clients got evicted. They blamed "Dr. D" for taking their money, but not paying rent.

The I-Team has learned "Dr. D" is also far behind on payments for two homes in Modesto. Thirteen people lived in one sober house on Mable Avenue, but now they have to find somewhere to move.

"We started worrying, 'Well, is he doing the same down here?' And he did. Taking money from people knowing they weren't going to have a place to live," said Bill Hale, the house manager at the Mable House.

Another resident said, "I'm out actively looking daily, on the computer all the time, trying to find a new residence."

VIDEO: I-Team exposes 'Dr. D' as state investigates sober house


This is an enormous strain on people who are at a vulnerable point in their lives. The I-Team spoke with one woman in Rohnert Park, living in her car for the first time after giving "Dr. D" her last money for rent. Noyes sat down with Diffenderfer and questioned him about these accusations.

Noyes: "She says that you took her, that last month's rent knowing that she was going to be evicted in short order. And that was the last money she had. And as a result, for the first time in her life, she is on the streets because of you."
Diffenderfer: "That's not true."
Noyes: "How do you feel about that?"
Diffenderfer: "That's not true."

"I just feel really bad for the people that I've had to put out because of him. You know, but I had no choice," said Diana Schwenn, landlord for one house in Modesto and one in Rohnert Park. She said she has lost so much money from "Dr. D's" unpaid rent that she now has to sell.

The owner of the other house in Modesto said "Dr. D" owes him $13,000. That owner has made arrangements with the sober house manager, Janis Hubbard, so that the tenants can stay. Hubbard is also bringing over some of "Dr. D's" former clients from the other Modesto home.

"I talked to the owner and had them turn the house over to me so I could help people out," said Hubbard. "They wouldn't have nowhere to go, they'd be out on the street." That's after Diffenderfer's wife, Cate, texted her about the eviction. The text reads, "You must inform clients that they have to find a place to move to. It will no longer be Harmony Mountain Treatment, due to financial collapse."

Noyes reached "Dr. D's" wife by phone. She declined to go on-camera, but confirmed that Dr. D is out of business, and that she hasn't seen him since our first report. "Dr. D" has not returned calls for a follow-up interview. If you have a tip call 1-888-40-I-TEAM or send Dan Noyes an email here.
Related Topics:
homeI-Teamalcoholaddictionrental scamsrentersrental propertyinvestigationhealthmental healthdrug addictionModestoRohnert Park
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