Authorities: Man stole identity, treated hundreds of patients
by Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press
September 01, 2012 12:00 AM | 419 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A man stole a physician’s identity and pretended to be a doctor for a year in South Carolina, and now investigators are combing through medical records to see whether he harmed any of the hundreds of patients he treated, authorities said.

Ernest Addo of Austell is charged with unlawful practice of medicine and obtaining goods under false pretense, authorities said.

Addo doesn’t have a medical license in the U.S. But he assumed a doctor friend’s identity, getting a driver’s license and presenting the massive amount of paperwork needed to prove he was a doctor. The documents were given to him by the friend in hopes they could open a medical clinic together when the real doctor returned from a yearlong trip to Ghana, Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said.

The real doctor, Arthur Kennedy, said he is embarrassed and devastated by what his friend did.

Addo did have some medical training, and acted enough like a doctor not to raise any serious suspicion beyond one nurse — interviewed after Addo’s Aug. 24, arrest — who wondered why he consulted ask.com when she questioned his treatment plan, Metts said.

The motive appears to be greed, the sheriff said. Court documents show Addo has a history of financial trouble.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show in the past 20 years, at least two dozen liens have been filed against Addo for around $200,000, including unpaid rent, credit card bills, student loans and taxes. Addo has declared bankruptcy twice.

After Addo’s arrest last week at his Georgia home, officers found fake IDs and other documents, and Metts said it appears Addo might have tried to fake his way through other lucrative careers, too. The sheriff wouldn’t specify which ones.

“He seems to be a professional con guy,” Metts said.

Authorities have said Addo received more than $10,000 for his services but declined to elaborate. One of the jobs also gave him the use of a Mercedes.

Addo, 48, has been jailed in Cobb County since his arrest, and neither the sheriff nor jail officials knew if he had an attorney. Addo is refusing to talk to authorities, and both his home phone and cellphone have been disconnected.
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