A Florida teenager who is accused of practicing medicine without a license told ABC News he did not "diagnose" patients and claimed that he had a Ph.D.
Malachi Love-Robinson, 18, was arrested by police Tuesday in West Palm Beach, Florida, after they conducted an undercover operation at the medical office allegedly used by the teen. Authorities say Love-Robinson purportedly fooled his victims with an elaborate website and bio in which he referred to himself as a “well-rounded professional” who uses psychotherapy, electrotherapy and other techniques to treat patients.
In an interview with ABC News Love-Robinson defended himself, saying he thought it was his "job as a good citizen" to help people and denying that he diagnosed patients or misrepresented himself.
"I have been studying this particular field for a while," he said. "It may not have been eight, nine, 10 years. It has been long enough to, I would say, justify what I do."
Love-Robinson, who was previously investigated in January for similar accusations, though he was not charged then, claimed he had a Ph.D., but did not disclose in what area or what school he received the degree from.
"For one I have taken quite a bit of final exams and alternative medicine courses," he said, adding that he also shadowed and interned with doctors.
A man who said he was Love-Robinson's business partner, Perseus Wells, told ABC affiliate WPBF in West Palm Beach that he didn't initially have doubts that the teen was a naturopathic doctor.
But that changed when the teen was arrested.
"I wanted to ask him, come on, come clean, is this true?" Wells said he wanted to ask the 18-year-old as he watched undercover police officers walk him out of the clinic in handcuffs.
Although he knew nothing of the teen’s background, Wells said he had invested $10,000 in the clinic, WPBF reported.
The teen explained that he was "hiring" doctors and other experts to treat patients. Love-Robinson said he "did not perform any form of treatment" and that he "never diagnosed anyone."
When asked why he wore a stethoscope and lab coat in his office, he denied that he tried to appear as a medical doctor.
"The uniform of the office pertains to that particular office," he said. "The attire I had on is not specific to a specific type of MD."
Love-Robinson was arrested after an undercover sheriff’s office agent posed as a patient Tuesday. The teen allegedly gave her a medical exam and offered her medical advice, according to ABC affiliate WPBF 25 News.
Speaking to ABC News, Love-Robinson said that the officer "merely had her weight taken and her blood pressure taken and her lungs listened to" and was advised to take an allergy pill. He refused to confirm that he was the one who saw her or that what he did constituted "treatment."
Love-Robinson also denied accusations that he treated an 86-year-old woman multiple times and charged her approximately $3,400, as he was accused of doing in court documents obtained by ABC News, but then went on to mention seeing her in a consultation.
"That person never came to my office, they were never seen in the office, they were never given prescriptions in the office," he said. "That patient actually requested a consultation and the things she took were things she requested to take and they were all natural things that you can buy from Whole Foods."
Love-Robinson ended the interview shortly afterwards.
The teen is charged with two counts of practicing medicine without a license, one count of grand theft larceny and four counts of fraud. He was also ordered by the Dept. of Health to cease and desist practicing medicine without a license.
Love-Robinson has not yet entered a plea. The teen claims to have an attorney but would not give ABC News the attorney's name.