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Police: Sarasota man who posed as psychologist, provided fake therapy sentenced to 5 years in prison

He treated people who had been sexually abused and those experiencing weight and anxiety problems for several years.
Credit: WWSB

SARASOTA, Fla. — Police say a Sarasota man who posed as a doctor to provide fake therapy services will spend five years behind bars.

Phillip Stutzman, 45, of Lakewood Ranch pleaded no contest to multiple 2019 felony counts of unlicensed practice of a healthcare professional.

The Sarasota Police Department says he provided counseling and therapy services without a license as "Dr. Phillip Nikao" between Oct. 2016 and Jan. 2019. 

Stutzman claimed to have a master’s degree in Neuroscience and a Doctorate in Psychology, which were both found to be fake, when he treated people who had been sexually abused or dealt with weight and anxiety problems, according to the report.

In addition to the five years in prison and 10 years probation, Stutzman will have to pay $65,000 in restitution to at least 13 people who he "treated."

“We’re thankful for the victims who had the courage to come forward and let us know what happened," Criminal Investigations Division Captain Johnathan Todd said. 

"This man preyed on innocent people who were looking for help when they were most vulnerable. This outcome brings a resolution to the victims in this case and makes our community safe," he added.

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