Atascadero owners of hearing aid business arrested in fraud case

acornejo@thetribunenews.comOctober 23, 2013 

An Atascadero man and his wife who are accused of running a bogus hearing aid business are now in San Luis Obispo County Jail with bail set at $1 million each.

Aaron A. Marquis, 46, pleaded not guilty in April to several charges of insurance fraud and grand theft. His wife, Anja Marquis, 38, who worked as his office manager, billed insurance companies for audiology tests he conducted.

She has also pleaded not guilty.

The couple failed to appear in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday to answer to 11 additional charges of fraud and grand theft filed by the District Attorney’s Office.

A bench warrant was issued, and the couple was arrested at their home by the Atascadero Police Department on Tuesday.

According to an investigation by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Marquis advertised himself as an audiologist with a Ph.D.

During their investigation, consumer affairs investigators talked to members of the staff at Aaron Marquis’ San Luis Obispo business, Advanced Hearing Aid Center, as well as to patients.

Both confirmed that Marquis had administered hearing tests and represented himself as an audiologist.

Patients with hearing issues visit a physician for an initial evaluation. That physician then refers them to a medical specialist — an audiologist or an ear, nose and throat specialist. Those professionals can then determine whether a hearing aid is needed.

When investigators asked Marquis whether he had an audiology education, he allegedly told them he obtained his degrees by correspondence courses from Stamford Hill University in England.

Marquis, who called himself “Dr.,” was not an audiologist and was not permitted to produce audiology reports, the investigation concluded.

Arroyo Grande resident Justin Looysen was once a client of Marquis’.

“I’m really amazed,” said Looysen. “He had credentials on his wall, but I didn’t look at them too closely. I figured he was a doctor in audiology, and I didn’t even question that fact because he seemed knowledgeable about what he was doing.”

Looysen said he purchased hearing aids from Marquis but only kept them for a little over a year before replacing them with new ones from Costco.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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