-- 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.
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.
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.
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.