MELBOURNE, Australia — A fake gynecologist who never attended medical school but passed himself off as an infertility expert in Australia for a decade was sentenced on Friday to 9 ½ years in prison.
Victoria state County Court Judge Bill Stuart described Raffaele Di Paolo, 61, as a remorseless charlatan. Di Paolo must spend 6 ½ years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Earlier this year, Di Paolo pleaded guilty to or was convicted of 51 offences of procuring sexual penetration by fraud, assault, indecent assault and obtaining and trying to obtain property — medical fees — by deception.
The Australian-Italian dual citizen obtained forged qualifications as a medical practitioner, obstetrician and gynecologist in Italy in the 1990s.
He was convicted and fined in Italy for falsely passing himself off as a doctor, but managed to convince two Roman courts that he was qualified to practice medicine in Australia.
He returned to Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, and treated 30 women and their partners between 2005 and 2015, while fooling qualified medical professionals into believing he was legitimate with his fake Italian credentials.
Di Paolo's purported in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments included injecting homeopathic substances, taking blood samples which were never labelled and conducting abdominal tests and ultrasounds.
He told several women they were pregnant when they weren't. A pregnant woman miscarried after Di Paolo injected her with an unknown substance.
In one case, he conducted a breast examination without wearing gloves. In another, he removed semen from a partner's testicles with a needle but without anesthetic, causing pain and bruising.
"You are a base charlatan who has no insight and no remorse but perhaps much self-pity," Judge Stuart told Di Paolo.
"You deliberately deceived your victims, you breached the trust that they had in you. You encouraged false hope, you wrongfully touched them and penetrated their bodies and you took large sums of money," Stuart added.
The judge rejected defense lawyers' argument that Di Paolo's diagnoses of a narcissistic personality disorder and adjustment disorder should shorten his prison term.
Di Paolo will remain on a state sex offender registry for life.