Police: Fake doctor treated patients in Upstate

Ernest Addo (Source: WYFF)
Ernest Addo (Source: WYFF)

GREENWOOD, SC (WYFF) - A Georgia man unlawfully treated more than 70 patients in Greenwood, according to Greenwood police.

Ernest Addo is charged with unlawfully practicing medicine without a license.

According to Greenwood police, Addo was recently arrested by the Lexington County Sheriff's Office for committing similar crimes, and during the course of that investigation it was determined that Addo had committed the same crimes in Greenwood.

Greenwood police said Addo unlawfully treated in more than 70 patients between July 5 and July 10 at Magnolia Manor and Greenwood Family Practice.

A spokesman released a statement on behalf the owner Dr. Jed Graham of Greenwood Family Practice saying:

"Dr. Graham is cooperating with state and federal authorities in the investigation against Ernest Addo. Mr. Addo was presented to Greenwood Family Practice by a staffing agency to temporarily perform medical services for four days from July 5, 2011 through July 8, 2011. The staffing agency presented credentials of Dr. Arthur Kennedy to Greenwood Family Practice when they recommended Mr. Addo to the practice, representing that Mr. Addo was Dr. Kennedy. Dr. Graham has individually reviewed the patient records of each visit conducted by Mr. Addo posing as Dr. Kennedy, and a letter has been sent to all of these patients. If any patients have questions or concerns, they should call Greenwood Family Practice. "

An administrator with with Magnolia Manor Nursing home released this statement:

"We have just learned that Ernest Addo, the man alleged to have been impersonating a doctor and recently arrested was hired to cover for a physician who cared for some of our residents in July 2011. it is our understanding that Mr. Addo was placed by a reputable staffing agency company to temporarily cover while the regular physician was on vacation. While state and federal guidelines prohibit us from providing information about our residents, we believe that the residents and or their family have been notified by the regular physician for whom Addo covered during this time period. We do take health, safety and wellbeing or our residents very seriously and we will cooperate with the authorities to ensure Mr. Addo is investigated and prosecuted."

Court documents show the five facilities Addo worked at in Lexington County were operated by Agape Senior.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said Addo presented copies of documents to Agape Senior claiming to be an Orangeburg man who is licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina.

Metts said Addo is a friend of the man he impersonated.

According to Metts, they started their investigation after the man reported he was a victim of identity theft. The man said Addo unlawfully practiced medicine in his name and unlawfully obtained and used credit cards that were issued in the man's name.

During the investigation in Lexington, deputies said Addo unlawfully practiced medicine at five senior care facilities in Lexington and Richland counties and a Department of Mental Health facility in Columbia between Feb. 15 and Aug 22.

Agape Senior Primary Care released a statement regarding the allegations.

"This individual came highly recommended from his previous employer where he practiced as a physician," read the statement. "Further, he provided Agape with all necessary information to practice as a physician and pass through third party credentialing."

"As an integrated health provider committed to the health and well-being of its patients and its position in the communities it serves, Agape is shocked that someone would perpetuate such a fraud upon it and its patients. Agape has taken immediate steps to protect its patients and ensure all care was appropriate relative to this matter."

The Department of Mental Health representative said Addo was employed by a private company which DMH contracted for temporary physician services.

A news release from the DMH noted it was taking several actions in light of this arrest. It said medical directors of facilities would do patient record reviews to look for concerns related to Addo's actions. To date, none have been found.

The department is also reviewing its preplacement procedures to determine if additional measures are needed to guard against future incidents.

Lexington County detectives said they tried to talk to Addo on Friday, but he would not speak to them without his attorney.

Addo is being held in the Lexington County Detention Center.

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