New Yorker pretends to be doctor for 3 years, officials say
(CNN) — Donald Lee-Edwards was arrested this week and accused of impersonating a clinical psychologist and medical doctor for three years and potentially providing mental health services to over 100 patients, said the Richmond County District Attorney’s office.
He is “a dangerous scam artist who never completed any medical school or doctoral program. He merely bestowed upon himself the professional titles of clinical psychologist and medical doctor,” said Daniel Master Jr., Richmond County district attorney.
According to authorities, Lee-Edwards said he worked “extensively with family members and victims of 9/11” and made himself available for home visits. In June, the district attorney’s office was notified of his practice after skeptical patients complained of his unorthodox bedside manner and his prescription methods.
CNN affiliate WCBS spoke to one of Lee-Edwards’ patients, Kim Broadie, outside his office. Broadie showed them a bottle of anti-depressants he had been prescribed with a different doctor’s name; the district attorney’s office said Lee-Edwards would call in his prescriptions under the identity of a different doctor with a similar sounding name.
Lee-Edwards operated out of a basement apartment below a two-family residence in State Island; he lived in the floor above his office with his parents, officials said.
Photographs released by the district attorney’s office show a waiting room with seating area, a kitchenette, a front desk and rooms for treatment. They also show shelves of blood vials and urine samples and medical equipment throughout the apartment.
Lee-Edwards’ letterhead advertised him as a clinical psychologist, Ph.D., M.D. and L.P., and when CNN called Lee’s business and cell phone numbers for comment, his voice mail did the same. Lee-Edwards could not be reached and it was not clear if he has an attorney.
The district attorney’s office said during Lee-Edwards’ time practicing, he saw “approximately 10 parolees through word-of mouth referrals” and he would talk to their parole officers about session attendance. He also prepared progress reports for parolee’s files, officials said.
The district attorney’s office brought a 12-count indictment against Lee-Edwards, including charges of criminal impersonation, identity theft, unauthorized practice of medicine, criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions. Lee-Edwards is due back in court in September and is being held on a $150,000 bond/$75,000 bail.
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