NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Numerous teens across the United States have posed as professionals, and in many cases, have been successful for a matter of days, or even months.
These teens have no degrees, no licenses, some haven’t even graduated high school, yet they’ve managed to pose as working employees.
Training to be a doctor can take years, but not for Malachi Love-Robinson.
For a full month, police said the Florida teen pretended to be a physician at a hospital. He posted apparent medical licenses online, performed a physical exam and offered medical expertise.
When finally found out, Love-Robinson was arrested and charged with practicing medicine without a license.
But bizarrely, he isn’t the only teen to pose as a professional.
“No one ever pretends to be a plumber. It’s always someone in a position of real authority,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist, told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
Izaha Akins, 18, not only posed as a senator, but guest spoke at an Ohio high school for 45 minutes on the importance of advocacy.
“He had a local car dealership give him a car to chauffeur him to the high school,” Hafeez said.
School officials seemed shocked to find out he had lied.
“We’re going to tighten that up and be more diligent in verifying who people are,” a school official said.
And there have been many other cases. One teen posed as an FBI agent. At just 14 years old, another teen claimed to be a cop, spending several hours patrolling Chicago in a police cruiser.
“There is a certain similarity in all of these teenagers. They are all somewhat bright,” Hafeez said. “There’s a sense of that thrill-seeking, rule-breaking kind of behavior. Let’s see what happens if I do this, can I get caught?”
But this “Catch Me If You Can” behavior not only gets the teens caught, it could also land them in jail, potentially ruining their future chances of really fulfilling their dreams.
Hafeez said people don’t like to question authority, even if that authority looks too young to be true, further helping teen imposters carry out their con.