He wore a white lab coat and a stethoscope, but as several would-be patients in South Florida learned in 2015 and 2016, Malachi A. Love-Robinson was no doctor.
Mr. Love-Robinson, who was 18 when he was accused of practicing medicine without a license, pleaded guilty to several charges on Thursday, and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison. The charges included grand theft from a person over 65 — prosecutors said he stole money and checks from an 86-year-old woman he was seeing as a patient.
Now 20, he has spent the last 16 months in a county jail, and will get credit for time already served.
Mr. Love-Robinson’s story gained wide attention in 2016 after officials said he performed a physical exam and offered medical advice to an undercover agent. He had several run-ins with law enforcement as he repeatedly tried to pass himself off as a doctor, the officials said.
He owned and operated his own office, called New Birth New Life Medical Center & Urgent Care, in West Palm Beach, the local sheriff’s office said. Before that, he was arrested in October 2015 for practicing medicine without a license in Boynton Beach, Fla., and he was taken into custody in January 2015 after walking the halls of a hospital wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope.
In February 2016, he told The Times that the charges against him were “gut wrenching.”
“I’m not trying to hurt people,” Mr. Love-Robinson said in 2016. “I’m just a young black guy who opened up a practice who is trying to do some good in the community. If that is a negative thing, we have a lot more work to do in the community than to single out me.”
He said that he had a Ph.D. in another field from a “private Christian university,” but wouldn’t name the university or say what the field was. He had a certificate to provide alternative health care from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, a group for holistic health professionals, but it does not allow people to diagnose or treat medical conditions.
He admitted to investigators that a diploma he displayed at the Boynton Beach clinic from Arizona State University was fake, according to The Sun Sentinel.
The newspaper reported that he had visited Anita Morrison, the 86-year-old woman, several times in West Palm Beach after she had complained of intestinal pain. Officials said he stole $34,504 from her checking account, using it to pay off auto loans and credit cards, and forged three checks totaling $2,794.
“I was in severe pain and he said he could help me,” she said, according to The Sun Sentinel.
He pleaded guilty to three fraud charges, one charge of grand theft from a person over 65, one charge of grand theft of $300 or more, one count of practicing naturopathy without a license, one count of grand theft of $20,000 or more, and one count of obtaining property in exchange for a worthless check.
In an unrelated case, he pleaded guilty in March 2017 to making false statements to obtain credit and passing a forged document, according to The Sun Sentinel. The authorities said he was accused of buying a $35,000 Jaguar using his godmother’s name on a car loan application without her permission, and that he used her credit card to buy iPads and a cellphone.
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