A Fresno doctor who was accused of going along with his wife’s phony claim of being French royalty and faking her death in order to trick a couple into buying his ranch has agreed to three years of probation by the Medical Board of California to avoid serious sanctions.
While on probation, Dr. Michael Weilert, 65, will be prohibited from supervising physician assistants, the Medical Board said. In addition, he will be required to take a professional ethics course and hire a certified American Board of Medical Specialties physician to monitor his practice.
The settlement was signed by Weilert and his attorney, Lawrence E. Wayte, of Fresno. Weilert, who specializes in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology and family medicine, began his probation on Feb. 26.
Four years ago, Weilert was involved in one of the more scandalous civil trials in Fresno County Superior Court history, when a jury ordered him and his wife, Genevieve de Montremare, to pay $850,000 in punitive damages to a Southern California couple who contend they were tricked into buying the doctor’s 15-acre ranch in Parlier.
Jurors ruled that Weilert and his wife committed fraud and breach of contract in selling their Parlier ranch on South Kings River Road to Dr. Brian Gwartz and his wife, Cheryl Skigin, for $2.3 million in May 2008. Jurors also awarded the couple $700,000 in damages for fraud and breach of contract.
Dr. Michael Weilert wrote his wife’s obituary in late 2007 and told others she died of leukemia.
During the trial, Weilert testified that he faked his wife’s death to protect her from the public. “She is very ill and her desire was to be dead,” he told jurors.
He also said faking his wife’s death had nothing to do with selling the ranch because Gwartz and Skigin had signed a contract that said they bought the ranch “as-is.”
Court records say De Montremare grew up in Lindsay as Genevieve Sanders and was once the National Raisin Queen. She legally changed her name to Genevieve Marie de Montremare in 1991 and began telling friends that her French family has been breeding horses for 1,000 years. That same year, she married Weilert, who admitted on the witness stand in the 2012 trial that he went along with his wife’s phony claim of being a member of the House of Rochechouart. He also testified that he wrote her obituary in late 2007 and told others she died of leukemia.
His wife’s connection to horse breeding was true: She had become an authority on Friesians, so convincing that the International Friesian Show Horse Association – which de Montremare founded – gave out a memorial trophy in her honor in 2008 and 2009. DeMontremare did not testify in the 2012 trial.
According to the Medical Board, Weilert faced discipline over the fraudulent real estate transaction with Gwartz and Skigin and for telling others that his wife had died.
Weilert also faced discipline for prescribing Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, for his wife and for ordering laboratory tests for his wife. The Medical Board accused him of directing laboratory technicians to generate reports “using fictional patient biographical data in order to avoid registering his wife as a patient at the hospital.”
The doctor’s attorney said this week that Weilert is glad to have the Medical Board complaint resolved so he can continue with the care of his patients. As part of the settlement, Weilert admits no liability, Wayte said.
In resolving the complaint, Wayte pointed out that Weilert has been practicing medicine for four decades and this is the first time he has ever been in trouble with the Medical Board. He also pointed out that the Medical Board complaint did not criticize Weilert’s quality of care for his patients.