A San Francisco man who fraudulently posed as a dermatologist with ties to prestigious Bay Area schools was sentenced today to six years in state prison. Timothy Syed Andersson, 68, also known as “Dr. Syed,” pleaded guilty in San Francisco Superior Court in June to 64 counts, including practicing medicine without a license, grand theft, perjury and forgery.
Andersson told patients and other victims that he worked at University of California at San Francisco and Stanford University and often saw them at his home office in San Francisco’s Sunset District. There were 30 medical victims identified in the case, who were injected with various unknown substances or were sold creams that Andersson falsely said were specially formulated for them at UCSF and Stanford, and charged substantial sums for the procedures, prosecutors said.
He also falsely told other victims they had cancer, including a 2-year-old, who was given two injections of interferon, which caused a severe reaction that led to the child’s fingernails falling out. Andersson, who emigrated to the U.S. from Sweden but is originally from Pakistan, was charged with perjury because of a signed affidavit that said he earned an M.D. in Sweden and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the United Kingdom.
He also used his false stature as a doctor and bogus affiliations to UCSF and Stanford to scam 28 victims out of more than $150,000, including cases where he offered to assist victims with getting their children into the schools in return for payment of thousands of dollars, prosecutors said. Judge James Collins today sentenced Andersson to six years in state prison, although with credit for time served — he has been in county jail since his arrest early last year — he will likely be out of prison within the next couple of years.
Collins said the victims in this case “were particularly vulnerable” and Andersson “took advantage of a position of trust.” His defense attorney, George Lazarus, argued for the sentencing to be delayed, saying Andersson is suffering from medical ailments including a recent diagnosis of diabetes and a possible heart condition, but Collins rejected the motion.
Lazarus said outside of court following the sentencing that Andersson is “fundamentally a really good person.” He said, “He made some mistakes … and is extremely remorseful and apologetic.” Andersson’s case will return to court on Oct. 6 to set a date for a restitution hearing.
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