Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The man accused of stealing an Orangeburg doctor's identity to begin seeing patients pled guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft on Tuesday.
Police say Ernest Osei Addo had studied medicine in Belize before coming to the United States, but had not earned his license to practice. During a trip to Ghana, Addo met Dr. Arthur Kennedy, a Ghana native who had been practicing in Orangeburg for years, and the two talked about opening up a practice together in South Carolina.
Prosecutors said that while Dr. Kennedy was away, he sent Addo his personal information in the hopes of starting the business together when he returned, but Addo instead began the process of obtaining an ID in Kennedy's name.
Once he received the ID, Addo then signed up for a site that temporarily places doctors in practices needing extra help. Over the course of six months, Addo practiced at various offices where prosecutors estimate he saw over 500 patients and billed medicare for more than $400,000.
During the hearing, Addo admitted to all of these accusations, saying he did indeed use Dr. Kennedy's information to practice in the country.
Dr. Kennedy's wife noticed something was wrong when she received a statement in the mail for a Best Buy credit card in her husband's name and called Addo to see if he had any involvement. Prosecutor's say it was then that Addo admitted to stealing her husband's identity and she called police.
By pleading guilty, Addo waived his right to a grand jury trial and the right to appeal the conviction.
The charge carries a prison sentence of two years consecutive to any additional sentences and a fine of up to $250,000 as well as an assessment fee of $100. Addo will not be eligible for parole, but can motion for a lesser sentence if he is cooperative during his time.