KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A six-person jury found Matthew Scheidt guilty on Thursday of impersonating a physician assistant in Osceola County.
He was found guilty of two counts of impersonating a physician assistant and two counts of practicing medicine without a license.
As the verdict was read, Scheidt cried, covering his face with his hands and his family members burst into tears. He had pleaded not guilty of all counts. Scheidt faces up to five years in prison on each count. His sentencing is scheduled for November 4.
Scheidt also faces more charges for impersonating a police officer and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon after he was arrested in Miami Beach in January.
In closing arguments, the state and defense argued over Scheidt's treatment of patients.
"The contact he had with patients, unlawfully, is not a laughing matter," said assistant state attorney Sarah Freeman.
"This was an error... " said Migalda Perez, public defender. "They panicked and shifted the blame to Matthew."
The state presented several witnesses in the case against Scheidt, including one of the hospital human resources employees who mistakenly gave Scheidt an employee badge that gave him access to the emergency room at Osceola Regional Hospital in September 2011.
While in the ER, Scheidt conducted exams, provided patient care and accessed restricted patient information, Kissimmee police said. The Human Resources Department became concerned about Scheidt's qualifications when he continually requested access to restricted areas of the hospital.
A check into his qualifications showed that Scheidt worked for Surgical Management Group as a part-time billing clerk, not a physician assistant.
Scheidt didn't testify in the trial. Prosecutors also played the two-and-a-half hour interview Scheidt did with investigators, where he said he never lied and the hospital employees were using him as a scapegoat to cover the mistake.
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