An Ambler woman is to spend one year on probation for claiming in court that she was a licensed psychologist - even though she lacked a state credential - during a child custody battle.
Sue Cornbluth, who bills herself as a "nationally recognized mental health expert," pleaded no contest in late May to a misdemeanor charge of false swearing. She was originally charged in February with a count of felony perjury.
Cornbluth's attorney, Nino Tinari, said the charge was downgraded because her testimony failed to affect the outcome of the case. Cornbluth claimed to have a psychology license when she served as an expert witness in a 2013 custody battle between a 5-year-old girl's parents and grandparents.
Hired by the grandparents, Cornbluth testified in Bucks County Court that the girl's father had likely molested the girl - an assertion investigators and the judge dismissed.
Tinari said he originally asked the prosecutor to approve Cornbluth for a diversion program that would have allowed her to expunge the conviction from her record. But the request was rejected.
"I think they just wanted to make a point," he said. "And perhaps that's her punishment for doing what she did."
Matt Weintraub, chief of prosecution for Bucks County, said his office wasn't making a point.
"If someone commits a crime, we prosecute them," he said. "Whether they plead no contest or guilty, it makes no difference to us. They're convicted in the eyes of the law, and that's what happened here."
Cornbluth's testimony previously led to an admonishment from Pennsylvania's Department of State. In December, it fined her $6,000 and ordered her to stop saying she is a psychologist and practicing as one in the Commonwealth.
Under state guidelines, a licensed psychologist must have a psychology doctorate and two years of supervised experience, and pass an exam administered by the state board. Every other year, the professional must renew his or her license and take continuing education courses.