Imagine this: your wife is pregnant, and she finds the perfect doctor. He has privileges at Prince George’s Hospital Center, which is the closest hospital to you. He’s got 10 years of experience, so you feel confident. You’re feeling good. When the baby comes, he’s right there with you, and delivers your healthy baby boy. Life is good.
I bet a lot of families felt that way about Dr. Charles Akoda. The problem, unfortunately, is that there is no Charles Akoda. There’s a man named Oluwafemi Charles Igberase who stole a bunch of Social Security Numbers in order to go to medical school and get a license, who calls himself Charles Akoda – but there’s no actual Charles Akoda. He’s literally a myth.
One heckuva plan for identity theft
It’s the type of story that makes your head spin, but here’s the recap: Igberase came to the U.S. in 1991, and over the course of the 7 years, obtained “three certifications from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) under different names, dates of birth and fraudulent social security numbers, in order to practice medicine and get into a residency program in the United States,” per the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. He got kicked out of a couple, but in 2011 he managed to land a residency under a 4th fake SSN, and get his medical license. He became an OB/GYN, and the rest, as they say, is history. He finally got busted in 2014, went to trail in 2016, and was sentences earlier this year.
So, just to be clear – this man is a real doctor. He went to school, got a degree, and practiced medicine. He’s just not a real person, because he did all of this with a fraudulent Social Security Number. There’s a class-action pending against him, too, by 10 angry Mama Bears, but at least another 100 women are seeking legal counsel.
Wait – I thought you could only get tried once.
Yes, that’s true.
So what’s the deal with the class-action lawsuit?
When you are charged with a crime, you can only be tried for that crime once – unless a mistrial is called, and the prosecutor decide to try you again. (That can happen in state or federal court, BTW.) So, if you steal a bunch of waffles from IHOP and you are found not guilty, and then the next day you brag about how you have all these delicious IHOP waffles, there’s nothing anyone can do.
However, if you are charged in criminal court and found not guilty, but the owner of the IHOP wants to file a claim against you in civil court, you can’t be charged with a crime – but you can still have a lawsuit filed against you. In the case of these families, they can file a class-action against Igberase to recover damages.
And I gotta be honest – I don’t blame them. If my wife had a baby delivered by a fake-o doctor, I’d probably sue, too.
I may not be able to do anything for you in civil court, but if you’re facing federal criminal charges, I’ve got your back. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, you’ll work with an experienced Annapolis defense lawyer who knows what it takes to build a successful case. Please call 410-777-8103 or fill out this contact form to find out more. If you’re facing charges of identity theft, just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.