A convicted felon turned impostor doctor has a long history of deceiving people in bogus schemes with bogus credentials, according to multiple lawsuits and more than a dozen people interviewed by ABC15.
Last month, an undercover ABC15 investigation exposed Craig Allen Scherf posing as a doctor.
Scherf was calling himself “Dr. Craig,” and he was running a small medical clinic and performing skin injections, laser treatments, and other procedures without a license.
But in addition to playing doctor, Scherf has posed as a professional in other fields too, court records show.
Many people who have met Craig Allen Scherf say he’s a “pathological liar,” who can’t be trusted.
Despite his conviction for a 2011 crime, victims expressed disbelief at how Scherf has continually evaded accountability in a wide variety of other alleged schemes that go back two decades.
Scherf was once featured in a 2005 ABC15 investigation that also revealed Scherf was performing cosmetic procedures without a license before. At the time, officials told an ABC15 reporter that four different agencies were investigating Scherf.
Apparently, nothing happened.
“I absolutely do not understand how anybody can keep breaking the law like he does and keep running free,” said Margaret Lewis, who was featured in ABC15’s 2005 report. “He needs to go to prison and needs to be kept away from the general public.
“He’s dangerous,” Lewis said.
PAST LEGAL TROUBLE
Margaret Lewis said her adult daughter, Tiffany, is mentally ill and is easily coerced and manipulated.
Craig Scherf took full advantage of her condition, according to a 2001 lawsuit. The suit alleges that Scherf befriended Tiffany and convinced her that he was a licensed stock broker.
Before the family knew what was happening, Tiffany Lewis gave Scherf her entire life savings -- $200,000.
The truth is that Scherf was never a licensed broker. Scherf also promised he would invest the money in a company called Centech 21.
But that company didn’t exist, the lawsuit claims.
In the court filing below, attorneys for the Lewis family laid out a damning collection of facts against Scherf, including signed documents and bank records. The lawsuit also alleged that Scherf provided Tiffany with medication to treat her conditions.
The court ruled in Tiffany Lewis’s favor. But to this day, Scherf hasn’t paid.
In 2009, the judgment was re-filed. The total due: $390,000.
It’s not the only six-figure judgment courts have issued against Scherf. He currently has another outstanding judgment of $619,189.
In that case, Scherf skipped out on a multi-year lease with a commercial landlord in 2012. Court records show, at the time, Scherf was running a business called Zen Laser Centers.
In 2010, a woman named Karen Cole sued Craig Scherf, alleging that he was running a fake laser school and enrolling students.
Cole said she paid Scherf $2500 for tuition. In return, Scherf would provide “adequate testing to enable (Cole) to achieve certification.”
None of it was true. State officials said Scherf has never been licensed to perform to teach laser procedures.
“In fact, the school was a ruse of defendant Scherf to get cheap labor and customers, was not itself, upon information and believe, certified nor did it have any qualified people to provide instruction in the skill,” according to the lawsuit.
Cole is not the only person who Scherf has tried to get enrolled in his “school.”
ABC15 spoke to two additional women who said that Scherf promised his laser school could get them fully licensed in Arizona if they paid him several thousand dollars.
The women said Scherf pointed to all of his degrees and certifications as proof that he and his school were legitimate.
While going undercover inside Scherf’s medical office, ABC15 journalists witnessed walls full of degrees.
But many – if not all -- of those degrees are fake or worthless.
ABC15 saw at least two degrees from the Greater Laser Institute and Training Center, including one that showed Scherf had a “Doctorate in Kinetics.” However, Arizona business records show the Greater Laster Institute and Training Center is a business that Scherf created himself in 2005.
There are multiple other degrees and certificates from the Rocky Mountain Laser College.
But Ray Fulken, the college’s director, said he has no records of a Craig Scherf ever graduating or attending the school.
Those degrees are fake.
Several of the people Scherf recently treated in his medical clinic also say that he has tried pitching them a variety of new business opportunities.
One woman said Scherf asked if she would be interested in helping him setting up new health clinics in other states.
Scherf had a different pitch for Shamra Harrison.
“I just couldn’t believe that somebody could lie so well and get away with it,” she said.
SEE SHAMRA’S STORY IN THE VIDEO BELOW
Harrison went to Scherf in early January for Dysport injections. She’s thankful nothing serious happened after her treatment and even more grateful she declined Sherf’s business offer.
“I told him I’m a real estate agent, and then he told me he was a broker,” Harrison said. “He told me he’s got a lot of leads, and he’s ready to start this new adventure in California and Nevada.”
That’s half true.
Scherf was a licensed broker for a few years. But in 2014, his license was revoked.
In this new adventure, Scherf wanted Harrison to find commercial properties to open up marijuana dispensaries.
That’s a venture that’s tripped up Scherf before. In 2011, he was convicted on two charges for running marijuana compassion clubs.
Until seeing ABC15’s story, Harrison had no idea about Scherf’s past. But she did suspect something was off because she saw no results from her alleged Dysport injections
When Harrison called the number for Scherf’s clinic to complain, the number was disconnected. And then, an email was returned undeliverable.
Then she remembered that Scherf had given her two business cards. One of them for a coffee shop he claims to own called My Cup of Joe. (ABC15 confirmed that Scherf is running a pair of coffee shops with the same name in Tempe and Payson.)
She spoke to a person who told her that Dr. Craig was no longer available.
“I got a phone call saying that Dr. Craig is going to be going into surgery the next day,” Harrison said. “That while he was with a patient he started coughing up blood and that he’s got some sort of lung cancer.”
Harrison doesn’t buy it.
“He’s a pathological liar,” Harrison said. “He’s hurting people. He needs to be put away.”
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org.