Fake doctor pleads guilty in modeling scam

A 33-year-old Modesto man who solicited women online for fake modeling jobs and then posed as a doctor in order to try to sexually assault them said he hopes that the victims can get the healing they need, according to his attorney.

Just as the case against Garry Chow was set to be heard in front of a jury Monday in a San Mateo County courtroom, Chow pleaded no contest to sexual penetration under professional pretenses and attempted sexual battery, according to prosecutors.

The plea deal came under the condition that Chow would only serve no more than three years in state prison, prosecutors said.

Chow’s defense attorney James Dunn said, noting that his client has never had any criminal history:

“He hopes that everyone can move on and get the healing they need. … He feels terrible about the whole situation. … His own family has been traumatized by this.”

On Sept. 10, 2015, Chow attempted to sexually assault two women who had responded to an online posting on Craigslist.com seeking models.

After responding to the posting, an “agent” told them they would need a medical screening before being hired and sent them to Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, prosecutors said.

Chow worked at the hospital as a security supervisor. Posing as a doctor with a fraudulent nametag calling himself “Dr. Chen,” Chow then met the first woman to respond to the ad, a 23-year-old Vallejo woman. He then led her into a utility room at the hospital’s parking garage for a physical examination.

Chow groped the victim’s breast and then tried to penetrate her with his fingers, at which point she became suspicious and decided to leave, prosecutors said.

Chow then asked her for $200 for the exam, but she refused. He then told her he would waive the fee if she had sex with him, however she again refused and left, according to prosecutors.

About two hours later, the second woman, an 18-year-old Santa Cruz resident, arrived. When Chow took her to the utility room, she immediately became suspicious and called the police, prosecutors said.

About two weeks later, police spoke with the first woman and determined that the same suspect assaulted both victims.

Investigators identified Chow as the suspect. They believed he acted alone and posed as both the modeling agent and the doctor, according to police.

Chow was arrested at his Modesto home on Oct. 13. Inside, officers found evidence linking him to the assaults, police said.

Chow is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Dec. 2. He remains out of custody on $150,000 bail, prosecutors said.