The Star-News

Doctor sentenced for fraud

Sat, Oct 13 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam

A clinical psychologist from Chula Vista awaits sentencing Jan. 4, 2013, after he pleaded guilty to Social Security and immigration fraud for imaginary patients and real patients who were not disabled.

Dr. Roberto J. Velasquez, 55, was to have been sentenced Oct. 10, but his attorney requested a delay from U.S. District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz. Velasquez remains free on a $25,000 bond.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a press release that Velasquez was trained to diagnose and treat mental problems that could render someone disabled and thus be entitled to Social Security benefits. Duffy said the psychologist falsely certified some patients to be disabled when they were not.

Velasquez also admitted he made up fictitious patients with a fabricated history and test results, according to Duffy. He filled out forms for 25 immigrants whom he evaluated as disabled but were not, as a result of a Homeland Security investigation.

He faces up to 15 years in federal prison. Duffy said the Social Security administration paid out $1.5 million in unwarranted disability benefits based on Velasquez’s false certifications.

He worked in a clinic in National City and lives in Chula Vista. He surrendered his passport when charges were filed in April.

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