Syed bamboozled many in his personal and professional life, including doctors, lawyers, professors, business partners, university admissions staff, and even the United States Information Agency, a now-defunct federal department that issued him a visiting scholar visa. In early 2007, Syed even duped a Medical Board of California (MBC) investigator initially assigned to his case, raising questions about the board's ability to protect the public from phony doctors.
Syed's deception spree came to an end in February, nearly four years after he had been brought to the attention of the MBC, when he was finally arrested and jailed. He refused to talk to SF Weekly for this article. But his former friends, victims, and one of his ex-wives (he has four) have plenty to say, as do the hundreds of pages of investigative documents in the D.A.'s file. They tell the story of a man whose genius wasn't for medicine but for fraud.