A man has been accused of impersonating a physician while treating hundreds of South Carolina patients in the last year after stealing a friend’s identity. Ernest Addo of Austell, GA, has been charged with unlawful practice of medicine and obtaining goods under false pretense, following his August 24 arrest.
Addo, 48, had assumed the identity of Arthur Kennedy, who had given Addo his driver’s license and other personal documents before leaving on a year long trip to Ghana. Kennedy had planned on opening a medical clinic with Addo upon his return, according to authorities.
“He seems to be a professional con guy,” Lexington County Sheriff James Metts said of Addo, who was revealed to have a long history of financial turmoil. The Associated Press discovered two decades worth of records showing more than 24 liens against Addo, for unpaid rent, credit card bills, student loans and back taxes. The Georgia man has declared bankruptcy twice.
Addo was hired as a general practitioner to work at a number of senior rehabilitation centers owned by Agape Senior Primary Care. During his time he oversaw the treatment of over 500 patients. Metts reported that some of those patients had since passed away, which could lead to more charges if Addo’s false treatment was responsible for their deaths. During the year, Addo also served as a contract doctor for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Neither the department nor Agabe have found any issues caused by Addo in their review of medical records.
“We have found no inappropriate diagnosis or plan of treatment. We are convinced that all of our patients are safe and receiving proper care,” Agape CEO Scott Middleton said in a statement.
Currently, the charges levied against Addo could amount to more than 10 years in jail. If Addo is found to be responsible for the deaths of any of his patients, even more serious charges will be forthcoming. He is being held in police custody in Cobb County, GA, and has refused to talk to authorities so far.