'Impostor doctor' sentenced for illegally running medical clinic in Tempe

TEMPE, AZ -

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has prescribed an eight-year prison sentence to an impostor doctor busted in an ABC15 undercover investigation.

Judge Erin Otis also delivered a stern lecture to a teary-eyed Craig Allen Scherf before she levied the sentence.

“People go to medical professionals because they trust those people with their health, with their life,” Otis said. “There was a total fraud and abuse of that trust and confidence.”

In January, ABC15 went undercover to expose Scherf illegally running a medical clinic, where he was performing procedures like skin injections and laser hair removal without a license.

The station also uncovered Scherf had a long history of other bogus and illegal schemes.

After ABC15’s report, the Attorney General’s Office investigated and charged Scherf with 29 criminal charges.

Scherf’s accepted a plea deal in August, admitting guilt to two felony charges. During his sentencing hearing, Scherf cried at times and offered a short apology.

“I’m sorry,” he said in a soft and shaky voice. “I didn’t mean to harm anybody.”

But to one of his victims, that rings hollow and insincere.

“I wanted to throw up,’ said Mario Della Casa, who was sitting in court. “Nobody bought it. And thankfully, the judge didn’t either.”

Judge Otis seemed unmoved as Scherf’s attorney, Garrett Smith, attempted to offer mitigating factors, including Scherf’s military service and multiple children.

In the end, she found Scherf’s history of deception and the physical harm he caused some victims deserved a stronger sentence and an additional five years of probation.

The judge and victims unconvinced Scherf will live an honest life when he gets out.  

“He is what he is,” Della Casa said. “He’s a monster. He’s a crook. He’s a thief. He’s a fraud.”

Note: ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing is currently investigating broader issues with identifying and stopping impostor health professionals. If you have a tip about an impostor contact him at dbiscobing@abc15.com.

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