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Woman claimed to be psychologist in Stafford Co., misdiagnosed patients

A woman who had worked as a psychologist in Stafford County, Virginia, for several years is now accused of being a fraud, officials said Thursday.

Earlier this month, 42-year-old Sharonda L. Avery, of Spotsylvania, was charged with practicing psychology without a license, perjury, passing a forged document and obtaining money by false pretenses, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office said.

In October 2018, the sheriff’s office said it received multiple complaints from victims in Stafford and nearby areas questioning whether Avery was a licensed psychologist and accused Avery of misdiagnosing them or their children.

Avery worked as a psychologist at a Stafford County medical practice starting from 2012. The sheriff’s office said she treated hundreds of children and adults in that role. She was fired from the practice, which the sheriff’s office said was no longer in business but did not name.

An investigation found that Avery was not a licensed psychologist in Virginia, the sheriff’s office said. And though she claimed to have two doctorate degrees and a master’s degree, she did not, in fact, have a degree from any university or college.

The sheriff’s office added that the perjury charge is in connection to an allegation that Avery claimed to be a doctor while testifying in Stafford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in 2017.

She is being held without bond.

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