CORRECTION: Better Life clinic is not affiliated with MHMRA, contrary to an earlier version of this report.
If what Pearland police and the people who run Pearland's Better Life mental health clinic are saying is true, Karena Garcia is what my dad would call "a real piece of work."
According to KPRC, Garcia, 38, walked into the clinic back in November, offered her psychological talents and showed the manager her official certificate from the state board. It was her lucky day! Better Life had need of a counselor, and she got the job. It must have seemed to Garcia that the clinic was living up to its name, for her, at any rate.
Unfortunately for Garcia, her better life was not to last all that long.
Better Life manager Lisa Marino says now that something always seemed a little off about Garcia. Her certificate was riddled with misspellings and typos. And there were those shades: Garcia never came to work sans sunglasses, which she wore both in her office and at night.
After digging around online, Garcia's bosses found a Karina Garcia-Bravo, a real psychologist who looked nothing like Karena Garcia. (For starters, Garcia-Bravo is not Afro-Latina, like Garcia.) Alarmed, Garcia's bosses sent her certificate off to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, which ruled it was a fake.
Had they found her Facebook page, they might not have even needed to take that step.
How many real psychologists post status updates like this one:
So I'm sportin my throwback LV Tims cuz I'm suppose to be ridin backside on the crotch rocket today cuz it's nice out. We were suppose to cruise by this property that we gettin ready to break ground on. Why dis nigga done brought me 2 a full out construction site for me to mess up my throwback boots...SMH!! I mean they r Tims n my feet r protected from nails n stuff but pray for dis nigga that I don't get no paint or other chemicals on my LVs....
And how many real psychologists bash their haters in nine-minute YouTube videos, which they preface with a written intro like this?
Please consider the video that I put later in the week a warning and move on cuz i am goi...ng absolutely nowhere. Oh yeah n to da bitch dat called me fat, you are right but at least I am able to fix that cuz u look like a damn Gremlin n I really feel sorry for u cuz I believe that is why u act the way u do - low self esteem. To da bitch that called me ugly, really...look in the mirror or better yet don't do that at all as it may be way too painful. But seriously, the threats need to stop cuz I am going nowhere. In fact due to your own actions, this weekend I am getting with one of my "luvs" n we r gonna step this shit up a notch just for u. If u were smart u would hitch a ride. U ain't gotta like it but u can definitely benefit from it. In fact look at it like this. Have u ever travelled Greyhound? Did u like it? But it gotcha there didn't it...
And here's the video:
(Money quote: "If you don't like me, I don't give a fat rat's ass.")
(Okay, okay to be fair, most of this stuff was posted after Garcia got hired, but still...)
Before she was caught, Garcia had already administered ten sessions with patients at the clinic, which specializes in adults and children who suffer from mental retardation and autism. Marino told KPRC that Garcia's recommended treatment plans were actually quite good.
Police also say that when they arrested Garcia at work, they searched her car and found weed, pills, and cocaine, so that's something else she had in common with Sigmund Freud.
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Garcia has been charged with felony drug possession and tampering with a government document. The Sugar Land resident also has a warrant in Fort Bend County, and has been convicted of felony welfare fraud in Harris County.
Her former bosses say to always run a driver's license check on prospective employees and not to rely on professional certifications.