Dozens of victims — including eight children as young as 2 years old — were treated with painful procedures and bogus creams by a San Francisco man posing as a licensed medical doctor, District Attorney Kamala Harris said Wednesday.
Timothy Syed Andersson, known as “Dr. Syed” to his patients, allegedly conned 38 people out of at least $75,000 by masquerading as a dermatologist and treating them out of his home near Lake Merced, Harris said.
Between 2004 and 2007, Andersson performed fake medical examinations and injected patients with unknown substances, according to Craig Stewart, senior investigator of the Medical Board of California.
Andersson, 66, advertised his services through the Internet and on Indian radio stations. His Web site, www.syedbeauty.com, advertises facial and stretch-mark creams that sell for as much as $125. Asked what the cream was made of, Harris said, “A bunch of B.S.”
He also claims on his Web site to have more than 35 years of professional experience, more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific research publications and more than 100 appearances at esteemed scientific conventions.
But Andersson is a career con man with a history of committing fraud in Sweden, where he lived before migrating to the U.S., Stewart said.
Investigators in San Francisco were tipped off by a woman who came forward to the medical board and complained that Andersson said he could perform breast augmentation for her.
Among the various procedures Andersson allegedly performed is an unheard of and painful treatment for varicose veins in which he withdrew blood from a woman’s legs. He also allegedly told several clients they had cancer, including a 13-year-old child, according to prosecutors.
Douglas Rappaport, an attorney who appeared for Andersson in court Wednesday, was not immediately available for comment. Andersson is being held on $1 million bail and is set to be officially arraigned next Wednesday.
If convicted, Andersson could be sentenced to three years for each of the 50 counts, which include grand theft and practicing medicine without a license. He also is charged with one count of perjury.
Harris said the Andersson case was indicative of a greater trend of people posing as doctors and preying on immigrant communities.
In 2006, Stephen Turner faced more than 100 felony charges for performing false medical exams on immigrants, giving them phony vaccinations and bilking them of almost $250,000. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.