OAKLAND -- A Berkeley man and former psychologist was sentenced Thursday to 2½ years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $600,000 restitution following an earlier conviction for tax evasion and theft of government property, a U.S. Attorney spokeswoman said.

In February, Hugh Leslie Baras, 70, was convicted of five counts of tax evasion and one count of theft of government property for not reporting more than $1 million in income over five years at a private practice in Palo Alto, federal authorities said.

Baras, who formerly worked as a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, and as an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, started a solo practice in Palo Alto in late 2002.

Between 2005 and 2009, the practice generated more than $1 million in income. Although he filed timely federal income tax returns for each of those years, he did not report income produced by his private practice, federal authorities said.

Additionally, Baras collected roughly $80,000 in disability insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration between 2006 and 2009, authorities said. He also sold nearly $600,000 worth of gold and silver coins to a coin broker in Oakland and did not report the capital gains on his tax return, authorities said.

Baras was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and pay a fine. He will begin his sentence in late September but was not available for comment late Thursday.


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His attorney, Marc Zilversmit, said Baras has repaid $840,000 in back taxes and interest.

"We think it's an abuse of power to pick on a sick man who, at the time, was severely ill and taking medications for his illness."

Zilversmit said Baras has a muscular skeletal illness that required him to take prescription drugs that clouded his thinking.

Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.