FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP/CBS) — At a young age everyone gets asked what they want to be when they grow up. While many have aspirations of one day becoming a doctor or lawyer, one teen from Florida may have taken things a little too far.
18-year-old Malachi Love-Robinson had all the trappings of a medical practice — an office, a lab coat and stethoscope. What he didn’t have, authorities say, was a medical license.
Now the Florida teen is charged with practicing medicine without a license and theft after he allegedly performed an exam on an undercover agent and took almost $3,500 from an 86-year-old woman seeking treatment for stomach pain. He’s also accused of stealing three checks from her that he cashed for almost $2,800.
Love-Robinson was released on $21,000 bail on Wednesday, one day after his arrest.
This was not his first attempt. Love-Robinson was caught pretending to be a physician by staff members at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
In a statement, the hospital told CBS affiliate WPEC that the teenager did not have “contact with any hospital patients and did not gain access to any patient care areas of the hospital at any time.”
The hospital immediately notified local authorities, but did not press charges after determining that no crimes were committed.
Instead of laying low, the teen decided to double down. He filled out business paperwork, leased office space, and actually got patients to come see him, scamming them out of thousands of dollars.
“Those are just allegations,” he told The Associated Press in a brief phone interview.
Love-Robinson called a Wednesday night news conference and arrived a half hour late. He would only say that his attorneys are working to resolve the charges and that he hopes the community will pray for him. He declined to answer any questions.
According to Palm Beach County sheriff’s reports, an undercover agent went to Love-Robinson’s office, The New Birth New Life Medical Center, on Tuesday. He was wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope draped over his neck.
The agent told him that she was suffering from a sore throat, lethargy and sneezing. He took her temperature and used the stethoscope to check her lungs and heart and told her she was suffering from allergies and should take an over-the-counter medication.
He told her he was a doctor of homeopathic medicine, the report said, and explained that he had a medical doctor on staff to prescribe antibiotics. She signaled other detectives who entered the office and arrested him.
Detectives also cited the case of Anita Morrison, who filed a complaint alleging Love-Robinson had come to her house five times in December after she contacted him online to treat her for stomach pains. He told her she suffered from arthritis and sold her vitamins, charging her $3,494 that she paid by check.
During one visit, she told detectives, she became ill, and Love-Robinson called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. He recommended that she not take her purse, so she gave it to him and asked him to lock up her house.
After her release, she found her bank account had no money. Investigators said Love-Robinson had forged three checks from her account.
Morrison did not immediately return a message left on her voicemail.
A website for Love-Robinson’s medical practice says he specializes in naturopathy, a system of medicine based on the healing power of nature that avoids the use of surgery and drugs. It is not a licensed medical specialty in Florida and cannot be legally practiced in the state.
Love-Robinson’s website says he is a “well rounded professional” who bases his treatments on “physiological functions and abnormal conditions on natural laws governing the human body.”
The site says he accepts 19 health insurance plans, plus Medicaid. Three insurance companies contacted by AP said they had no dealings with him. The site also says he speaks French and lists his age as 25.
The Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that Love-Robinson had been stopped last year at a hospital while wandering the halls wearing a lab coat and stethoscope. He was then 17.
On a separate religious-themed website, Love-Robinson says he is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church, having done a doctoral thesis that “explored the paradoxical nature of certain Christian doctrines and the implications for the rationality of Christian faith.” The Universal Life Church is an Internet-based church that will ordain anyone 13 or older who fills out a short form.
“Dr. Love-Robinson is now and (sic) advocate for ULC and all Associations in which he represents and intends to bring much good to community one blessing at a time,” his profile says.
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