A woman who court records allege practiced as a psychologist in Stafford County without a license for at least three years has been indicted on 13 charges.
Sharonda L. Avery, 42, is charged with seven counts of false pretenses, two counts of passing a forged document, perjury and three counts of practicing psychology without a license.
The latter three charges are misdemeanors that cover the time period from Jan. 1, 2015, to the end of 2017. The false pretenses charges each carry the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.
Avery, for whom court records list recent addresses in Woodbridge and Gasburg near the Virginia–North Carolina line, was indicted earlier this month by a Stafford grand jury. The indictments came three days after multiple theft-related charges were dropped in an unrelated case against Avery.
According to authorities, Stafford Detective Ed McCullough’s investigation began after a psychologist working for the Spotsylvania County school system filed a complaint against Avery, claiming that children had been improperly diagnosed. Authorities said they later determined that Avery had never been licensed by the state.
The false pretenses charges mostly involved families and individuals who had paid Avery for her services. Prosecutor Michael Hardiman said it is illegal to take money from people while claiming to be a doctor and diagnosing their children.
The victims had received services from Avery for anywhere from two months to nearly three years, court records state, and authorities said thousands of dollars were paid for the services.
Some children received medication from real doctors based on diagnoses from Avery, authorities said. One of the false pretenses indictments names the victim as a pediatrics doctor who apparently had done business with Avery from January 2013 through September 2017.
The perjury charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, stems from an allegation that Avery testified in Stafford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in 2017 while claiming to be a doctor.
Court records do not state where Avery did business in Stafford, but online listings cited business addresses on Tolbert Loop and on Choptank Road. It was not clear Tuesday whether she practiced in other localities.
Avery had not been arrested on the new charges as of Tuesday.