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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Faux S.F. Doctor Timothy Andersson Hit With 51 Felonies for 'Dangerous and Unecessary' Procedures

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 11:15 AM

He had no license to practice medicine in California or the United States, and no affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco, as he claimed. But 66-year-old Timothy Andersson (who also went by Dr. Tanweer Ahmad Syed) saw scores of patients in his Inner Sunset home, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's office. In some cases he allegedly drained their blood to treat varicose veins and injected them with an unknown substance to treat cancer he had diagnosed.  

The District Attorney will today charge him with 51 felonies, including 27 counts of practicing medicine without a license, 23 counts of grand theft by deception, and one count of perjury for allegedly lying to the Medical Board of California. (A spokeswoman from the medical board told SF Weekly that the board investigated Andersson/Syed and found he had no license). Of the 27 victims he treated, eight were minors, said Deputy District Attorney and office spokesman Brian Buckelew.

"All the victims reported that at the time of their treatement, they believed he was a medical doctor based on his misrepresentations," Buckelew said.

The deception didn't end there.

A bio on Syed's Web site,, calls him "a well known consulting dermatologist, clinician, cosmetic chemist, and Hoffmann Distinguished Professor of Alternative Medicine (Sweden) with more than 35 years of professional expertise in the field of extracting and synthesizing natural bioactive."

The biography is accompanied by a picture of the apparent doctor dressed in a suit and spectacles and crouched at a podium displaying his first name above the word "dermatology." Similar photos are scattered throughout the "highlight" section of the site, which details a few events that the doctor seemingly attended, including the Beverly Hills introduction of a facial treatment he invented. Also prominently displayed on the site is the doctor's bizarrely poetic catchphrase: "Keep the Face With Syed."

His bio goes on to explain that he has "been to" many prestigious academic institutions, including UCSF, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Harvard Medical School, none of which have any record of him, according to the DA's office. He claims to have published more than 70 peer-reviewed research papers in promiment medical journals (Buckelew counters that Syed has not published a single one) and made more than 100 "scientific podium presentations" at national and international medical conferences. By appointment only, Dr. Syed saw patients at his "offices" in London, Paris, Stockholm, Milan, Mumbai, Dubai, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, according to his Web site.

During an extensive investigation in conjunction with the Medical Board of California, the DA's office obtained several variations of Syed's resume, all of which include different versions of his accolades and training. "He's just a fraud," Buckelew said.

Additionally, Syed seemingly invented a hypo-allergenic cream with green tea extract as a treatment for rosacea. Between 2005 and 2007 a series of publications including Dermatology Times and Skin & Allergy News touted a study supporting the effectiveness of the skin cream. The study was funded mostly by Syed's company, Syed Skin Care Inc.

"His cream was amazing, there's no doubt about that," said a woman who met Syed five years ago and agreed to help him with advertising. The woman -- who spoke to SF Weekly on the condition of anonymity -- also referred people to Syed and believed he was a dermatologist. But he stopped returning her calls one year ago, she said, even though he owes her enough money "to buy a Mercedes ... the one I want."

The woman, who fears Syed may be in trouble because "someone is trying to get back at him," described him as a meek, mild man just trying to make a living. But the creme, she said, was really something. "Believe me, if you had tried that creme, you would love it, too," she said. She hadn't heard of Syed performing any procedures. 

After a single complaint to the Medical Board of California exposed Syed's illegal practice, an

investigation turned up additional complaints about procedures he performed between July 10, 2004, and Sept. 6, 2007. During that time, Andersson was going by "Dr. Syed" and advertising for patients via the radio and the Internet. 


He is alleged to have used a syringe to repeatedly withdraw blood from patients legs, sometimes as many as 25 times, as a treatment for varicose veins. Although blood drainage is sometimes part of treatment for varicose veins, doctors typically follow that up with a morrhuate sodium injection.

According to the DA's office, Syed collected significant fees from his patients. In some cases, he allegedly "diagnosed" them with cancer and repeatedly injected them with an unknown substance as treatment. The parents of one victim told the DA's office that Syed diagnosed their 13-year-old with a melanoma.     

Andersson was arrested Tuesday morning and is currently being held in county jail on $1 million bail. The perjury count against Andersson is punishable with up to four years in state prison. The additional 50 counts are punishable with up to three years each. 

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Ashley Harrell


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