Ever seen the film “Catch Me If You Can“? Stars Leonardo de Caprio, in this apparently true story in which he impersonates a school reporter, a pilot, a doctor, and then a lawyer and fools everyone. Eventually he gets caught.
“Doctor Theodore M, M.D. PhD”, presented himself as “one of the foremost western psychologists residing in China“, with an assortment of qualifications, degrees (which would require substantial academic writing and journal submissions), and experience that covered many different facets of the medical profession. Having satisfied themselves Doctor Theodore M was a highly qualified medical professional local Chinese resident and ex-pats living in Hangzhou with real medical needs flocked to consult with him on various ailments. All had confidence in his abilities not only to treat, but they also took solace in the professional advice that a medical practitioner of his stature would undoubtedly provide.
Early in February, a Chinese girl received an email from the Doctor, which was in effect an unsolicited sexual proposition. The email contained his mobile number. The girl in question demanded an apology. After repeated requests and with no apology forthcoming she posted a warning about Doctor Theodore M on the Hangzhou Expat Forum. In a state of denial, believing that the best defence is offence the Doctor accused her of defamation of character.
It just so happened that prior to reading the girl’s post on the Forum I was reading a news article in which HR recruitment experts were commenting that employers will always do an online search for “extra” details about potential job candidates — the point being “make sure that information about yourself, especially your background, which you post online is true because someone somewhere is going to Google you” [or if you are in 2013 China “human flesh search you”!]
Anyway, I had some time to burn today, as one does when it is seriously freezing outside, and as I re-read the posts on the topic raised by the girl something just didn’t seem right. As we say back home, I smelt a rat. This guy’s mode of offence wasn’t very becoming of a medical practitioner of repute, especially a psychologist.
And so began the Google search. Soon Google was throwing up lots of disturbing information about the Doc M… He claimed to have 15 college degrees (including 3 PhDs), he was Reiki Master/Healer, a member of the US Marine’s elite Delta Force, a stuntman, a bounty hunter, a former police officer, and an actor. Google search threw up a huge amount of information about this Superman going back 15 years.
About those degrees:
- AS Degrees in Arts & Sciences; York & Gaston Technical Colleges
- BS- Healthcare Services; Alameda University
- BS-Psychology and Master of Arts- Counselling; Alameda University
- Masters of Science-Psychology and Masters of Science-General Medicine; Medical University of South Carolina
- Ph.D. in Medicine; Medical University of South Carolina
- Ph.D. in Psychiatry; Medical University of South Carolina
- Ph.D. in Philosophy; UC Berkeley
He had purchased all the degrees certificates online. Alameda University in particular has a reputation for selling any type of degree at a price. Further research confirmed that the Doctor Theodore M wasn’t registered with any reputable medical school / authority in the USA, especially the American Medical Association.
Out of the blue Hangzhou had its very own version of Catch Me If You Can starring Theodore M. The man was nothing more than a con-artist with a very big ego (conmen usually are).
How his scam worked
- Buy the degree online
- Reside in a developing country with second and third tier cities crying out for the ‘professional wisdom of expert Westerners’, and where nobody can hardly speak English, let alone read and write it
- Have you online purchased degree notarised by the nearest US Consulate (in this case the US Consulate in Shanghai)
- Use the officially notarised documents to attain a license to practice as a medical physician
- Use your charm
- After you have the license you could easily apply for a job in needy hospitals, the notarised documents being proof that medical qualifications / degree are bona-fide
Doc M‘s approach opened doors to Hangzhou’s leading hospitals, and before long hewas even advertising his services as “a licensed and certified China organizer for organ Transplants for Foreigners“, a minefield controversial subject in China last year given evidence that the body parts of executed prisoners were being used in transplants (a trade that Chinese authorities have since outlawed, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the organ donation trade will stop in China any time such is the huge domestic demand for organ transplants). Moreover, most alarmingly, as a licensed physician Doc M was also able to prescribe any type of prescription medication, including anti-depressants and sedatives, which are considered very dangerous medications if not administered by a real professional doctor.
So the Doc M was abusing a position of trust that had the potential not only to seriously undermine the credibility of bona fide foreign doctors practising in China, but also the legitimacy of all foreign professionals working in Hangzhou.
Soon other women started coming forward accusing the Theodore M of molestation and worse. After reading his online dating profiles, and hearing and reading his victims first-hand accounts, it was clear that his deception was deception of the highest order, bearing all the hallmarks of a sex predator, who according to several definitions is a person:
“who is or was seen as obtaining or trying to obtain sexual contact with another person in a metaphorically predatory manner”. (Source: Google)
“Doctor” Theodore M was exposed as a quack. The US Consulate in Shanghai and others were informed and he is no longer practicing in Hangzhou, let alone China: Caught!
Resume of a Quack Doctor (as posted online):
Shake Rattle & Roll – Townsperson
Carrie 2 – Paramedic
The Patriot (starring Mel Gibson) – Militia Fighter
Millie Lewis – Runway Model
TELEVISION COMMERCIAL EXPERIENCE
Two Local Commercials Principal and Voice Over (both)
Martial Arts, Stunt Fighting, Sword Fighting, Some Singing Ability, Archer, White Water Rafting, Repelling, Expert Marksman, Hiking/Camping, Former Police Officer, Private Detective, Bounty Hunter, Photographer, Paramedic, USMC – Force Recon, Wrestler, Clinical Hypnotherapist/Counselor, Meditation Instructor, Reiki Master/Healer and versed in Buddhism, B.S. in Health Care And Much More.”
(Now we know what the B.S. in Health Care really means)