"Dr. Syed," Fake Dermatologist, Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Categories: Crime
The many faces of Dr. Syed
The San Francisco doctor best known to his patients as "Dr. Syed" was sentenced this week to six years behind bars for posing as a dermatologist and treating patients in the basement of his home.

For years, Timothy Syed Andersson, 68, practiced dermatology out of  his basement at 56 Springfield Dr. without a medical license, charging families pricey fees for painful treatments that didn't work.

What's more, he diagnosed some patients with cancer and lied to them about his celebrity clientele -- which he claimed included names like Elizabeth Taylor and Julia Roberts -- and his affiliation with UCSF and Stanford.

After a long criminal investigation, Andersson was arrested in February 2010, and pleaded guilty in June 2011 to 64 counts including perjury, forgery, and grand theft. However, because he already served some time in county jail, he could walk free in a few years.

SF Weekly's cover story on Andersson in April 2010 detailed how the Medical Board of California took four years to turn initial reports of his wrongdoing into an arrest -- during which time he continued to treat dozens of patients.

Many of his clients were from South Asian immigrant communities who came to him through recommendations from friends or relatives. Andersson conned 28 people into giving him $150,000 -- much of it in return for treatment for skin conditions, but also for promised help in gaining admission to Stanford Law School.

His case will return to court for a final hearing on restitution on Oct. 6.

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Tobi Fistcher
Tobi Fistcher

It is dismaying that there are people who give dermatology and skin care a bad name. Such cases put a taint on the industry as a whole. As customers, the best way to avoid being victimized by these frauds is to conduct a thorough research of the background of a prospective doctor. Look for solid credentials and certifications. That way, medical malpractice can be avoided.

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