Authorities say a Georgia man, arrested Friday for practicing medicine without a license, worked at five Midlands-area senior centers and rehabilitation facilities run by West Columbia-based Agape Senior. The company operates 23 assisted living, skilled nursing care, rehab and hospice facilities in the state.
Ernest Osei Addo, 48, was arrested at his home in Austell, Ga., on Friday, two days after he quit his job with Agape Primary Care, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said.
Addo was hired by Agape in February 2012. He presented the credentials of an Orangeburg man who is licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina, Sheriff James Metts said.
While working for Agape Senior, Addo allegedly provided medical services for as many as 500 patients at the five local Agape facilities: Agape Senior West Columbia, 2705 Leaphart Road, West Columbia; Agape Senior Kathwood, 4520 Trenholm Road, Columbia; Agape Senior Harbison, 990 Columbia Ave., Irmo; Agape Senior Lexington, 5422 Augusta Road, Lexington; and Agape Rehab, 300 Agape Drive, West Columbia.
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Addo came to the attention of authorities when the doctor in Orangeburg reported that Addo, a friend, had stolen his identity and was practicing medicine and using credit cards in the doctor’s name.
The sheriff’s department declined to release the name Addo assumed. Addo did resemble the Orangeburg doctor, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Major John Allard said.
Lexington County authorities are trying to determine whether Addo had some medical training that allowed him to convincingly impersonate a doctor. They have found no evidence that Addo is licensed to practice medicine anywhere in the United States, Allard said. There is also no indication that Addo is wanted for any crimes anywhere in the U.S.
Addo was being held at the Cobb County Detention Center in Marietta, Ga., awaiting extradition to Lexington County, Allard said.
Agape Senior declined to take questions about the case. But in a statement released by its chief clinical officer, Janet DiNino, the company said it was cooperating with law enforcement and only learned of the alleged deception on Aug. 22.
The statement said in part:
“This individual came highly recommended from his previous employer where he practiced as a physician. Further, he provided Agape with all necessary information to practice as a physician and pass through third party credentialing.”