By KATE FELDMAN
(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) — A Virginia woman who pretended to be a psychologist and “treated” more than 100 patients was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison.
Sharonda Avery, 44, practiced for three years at the former Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning in Stafford, where she worked under a licensed doctor, according to the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star.
Over the years, Avery handed out fake diagnoses and prescriptions to her patients, primarily children, and testified in court as a medical expert.
“Your lies and misrepresentations were truly astounding,” Judge Charles Sharp said during the sentencing hearing Friday. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case in which non-violent acts caused so much damage.”
Avery’s attorney argued that she was suffering from mental health issues and had been off her medication, but prosecutor Greg Holt wrote her off as a “con artist.”
“Real lives were changed and hurt by her,” Holt said, according to the Free Lance-Star. “She not only stole money, she stole trust.”
Avery was convicted of five counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, two counts of passing forged documents, perjury and practicing psychology without a license.
Sharp sentenced her to 46 years with all but 11 suspended, well above the recommended two years and three months, and called her actions “unforgivable.”
“You undercut the whole system,” Sharp said.