Sarasota County man sentenced to prison time for practicing medicine without a license
SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A Sarasota County man has been sentenced to prison time for practicing medicine without a license.
In 2019, Sarasota Police began investigating after receiving a tip that Phillip Stutzman was offering counseling or therapy sessions under the alias “Dr. Phillip Nikao” while claiming to have a Masters in Neuroscience and a Doctorate in Psychology. The tipster told police that they believed Stutzman had no higher education diplomas.
Paperwork provided to detectives showed listings for Stutzman as “Dr. Nikao” on various websites, as well as a business card, which police say also listed the aforementioned diplomas.
There were also videos of Stutzman where he referred to himself as “Dr. Nikao,” according to police.
Detectives met with three victims. One met with Stutzman between 2016-2019 for weight and anxiety problems, but stopped seeing him after learning he was not a doctor. A second woman said she paid Stutzman around $150 per month, but occasionally bartered with him for services. A third person told police she saw Stutzman for five to six months in 2018 for help with her marriage but stopped seeing him when she learned he was not a doctor.
Stutzman identified himself as a psychologist who specialized in “neurolinguistic programming, cognitive behavioral health and quantum physics.” Stutzman also used social media platforms, news articles and fake diplomas to lead victims and other health care professionals to believe he was qualified to treat patients. However, an in-depth investigation conducted by Det. Ross Revill of the Sarasota Police Department revealed that he did not attend California Southern University and did not complete any level of education that would remotely qualify him as a psychologist.
Stutzman was sentenced to five years in prison followed by ten years of probation. He must also pay restitution in the amount of $65,813.00.
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