SoCal Psychologist Pleads Guilty to Fraud

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – A San Diego-area clinical psychologist on Thursday pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and Social Security fraud: falsifying medical certifications to the federal government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     Roberto J. Velazquez, 55, of National City, “admitted that he falsely certified that dozens of patients were disabled, when in fact, they were not,” prosecutors said in a statement announcing his guilty pleas.
     “To further the fraud, Velasquez made up patient histories, fabricated test results, suggested symptoms and complaints that did not exist, intentionally underestimated patient scores on standardized tests, and lied about the length of time he had been seeing the patients,” prosecutors said.
     The statement added: “Velasquez also admitted that he submitted fraudulent medical reports to the Social Security Administration, falsely certifying that certain patients were eligible for disability benefits when he knew they were not. Beginning in 2006, and continuing up to the date of Velasquez’s arrest in April 2012, the Social Security Administration paid out at least $1.5 million in unwarranted disability benefits based on Velasquez’s false certifications. Velasquez also admitted that approximately 33 percent of his patient files contained fabrications, false statements, and false certifications of disability.”
     Velazquez faces up to 10 years in prison for immigration fraud, 5 years for Social Security fraud and $250,000 fines for each of the two counts at his Oct. 10 sentencing.

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