Woman Accused of Posing as Psychologist for Years in Stafford County - NBC Chicago
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Woman Accused of Posing as Psychologist for Years in Stafford County

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Stafford Woman Charged With Pretending to Be Psychologist

    Suspicious patients complained to authorities after not being able to find a license for Sharonda Avery. News4's Julie Carey reports. (Published Thursday, May 16, 2019)

    A Virginia woman accused of posing as a psychologist treated hundreds of adults and children for years, police say.

    Authorities in Stafford County received numerous complaints last October from people who questioned whether 42-year-old Sharonda Avery was a licensed psychologist.

    "Some of her patients believed that they had been misdiagnosed or that their children had been misdiagnosed while under her care and they couldn’t find a licensing number for her," said Amanda Vicinanzo, a spokesperson for the Stafford County Sheriff's Office.

    A detective for the Stafford County Sheriff's Office spent months looking into Avery’s background and speaking to families she’d treated.

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    "He discovered that not only was she not a licensed psychologist, but she also didn’t have a degree from any of the colleges or universities she claimed to have a degree from," Vicinanzo said.

    Starting in 2012, Avery worked for a group called Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning. She was fired last year and the practice is no longer in business, the sheriff's office said.

    Investigators say Avery likely treated hundreds of people while she was at the pediatric practice. They are encouraging anyone with concerns to come forward.

    "This is egregious for the victims in this case and we know there's more out there. And we just hope they'll contact us so we can complete a full investigation," Vicinanzo said.

    Avery turned herself into authorities Thursday. She was charged with obtaining money by false pretenses, passing a forged document, perjury and practicing psychology without a license.

    She is in custody at the Rappahannock Regional Jail and is being held without bond.

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    Her attorney did not comment.