ORLANDO, Fla. – On Thursday, a Florida man accused of pretending to be a licensed psychologist pleaded guilty
to practicing without a license and defrauding patients out of thousands of dollars.
Frank Haberle, 49, was charged with one count of practicing health care without a license and one count of scheme to defraud.
Both are third-degree felony counts that could have landed him up to five years in prison.
Instead, Haberle waived his right to a trial and agreed to do 500 hours of community service, two years community control and a total of five years supervised probation.
He also agreed to pay each of his victims back.
News 6 started investigating Dr. Frank Haberle Drake after two former patients reported they fell victim to his fake practice.
"He should at least have to pay back his victims," said one victim who asked to remain anonymous. "Whether he'll actually follow through and do it, we'll see."
The man said he was was one of Haberle's former patients and was the one who reported him to Winter Garden Police.
In May, the victim said Haberle's many online adds and reviews convinced him to seek treatment from him, not knowing he was paying thousands of dollars to someone who wasn't even licensed to practice.
"He was advertising himself as a psychologist, a mental doctor," the victim said.
Even in Orange County court, Haberle tried to keep up the facade, telling the judge he had a Ph.D. in Christian clinical psychology.
But News 6 uncovered how that Ph.D. was from a fake university Haberle started online and claimed to run out of his former Ocoee home.
We also reported how the Florida Department of Health cited him twice for practicing without a license.
In his plea agreement, Haberle was ordered to stop linking himself to any school or university of any kind.
He was also ordered to stop counseling and to stop calling himself a doctor. Haberle will also have to pay a total of $10,000 in fines.