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Prosecutors today charged a 66-year-old San Francisco man with 51 felony counts for allegedly practicing medicine without a license and defrauding dozens of patients out of about $75,000.
Timothy Syed Andersson, also known as “Dr. Syed,” was arrested Tuesday, according to the district attorney’s office.
District Attorney Kamala Harris said today that Andersson represented himself as a dermatologist and maintained a practice out of his home office in the Sunset District, where he allegedly treated patients for a variety of skin conditions with injections of unknown substances.
Harris said Andersson, who immigrated to the United States from Sweden but was originally from Pakistan, is not licensed to practice medicine in California or anywhere in the country. She accused him of “preying” on the city’s South Asian immigrant community.
Harris’ office has had contact with 38 alleged victims, including eight children, who were charged between $1,000 and $5,000 for treatment by Andersson, she said.
“By masquerading as a doctor and treating patients, the defendant betrayed those persons who trusted him to take care of them in their time of need,” Harris said.
Andersson appeared in San Francisco Superior Court this morning but delayed entering a plea to 27 counts of practicing medicine without a license, 23 counts of grand theft and one count of perjury. Bail was set at $1 million and he remains in custody.
Andersson allegedly said he worked at the University of California at San Francisco and at Stanford University, and claimed he had authored several medical papers, according to Harris.
Harris also claimed that Andersson doctored photographs of celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Elizabeth Hurley to include himself in the pictures.
Andersson also used the name Tanweer Ahmad Syed and, as “Dr. Syed,” advertised his services on Indian radio stations and the Internet, according to the district attorney’s office.
“We will be looking for and we will track down people who prey on anyone in our community,” Harris said. She advised patients to check their doctor’s credentials by visiting the Web site of the Medical Board of California at www.mbc.ca.gov or by calling (916) 263-2382.
Among the alleged practices Andersson is accused of are using a syringe to draw blood from a female patient’s legs to treat varicose veins; diagnosing several patients, including a 13-year-old child, with cancer; and repeatedly injecting patients with unknown substances.
Harris said none of the patients was seriously injured, but some required corrective surgery.
Andersson’s trademark product, Syed Hypo-Allergenic Facial Cream, advertised on his Web site for $125 a jar, advertises ingredients such as green tea and seaweed extracts to combat the effects of aging.
Harris today called the product “a bunch of BS.”
Andersson’s attorney was in trial and not immediately available for comment today, according to his office.