I hope this hasn’t happened to you: You meet with a doctor only to later discover that the person you met with wasn’t a doctor at all. You met with a counterfeit doctor, a person masquerading as someone else.
We don’t have to look very far in the news to see how often this actually happens:
—In August 2018, a 23-year-old man was sentenced to prison for impersonating a physician at two California hospitals. He roamed the halls of the hospitals wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck, and even diagnosed a patient.
—In February 2016, an 18-year-old man in Palm Beach County, Florida, was arrested after opening his own medical clinic and impersonating a doctor. He was arrested after an undercover officer made an appointment and was examined by the teen. He was sentenced to more than three years in prison.
—In August 2012, a man pretended to be a doctor in South Carolina and treated as many as 500 senior citizens through a collection of primary care facilities for seniors. He used stolen documentation belonging to a friend, an actual doctor, to gain approval to “practice medicine” at the South Carolina clinic. He faced two years in prison.
All of these instances are reminiscent of one of the greatest counterfeiters of all time, Frank Abagnale. Now 71, and working as an American security consultant for the FBI, Abagnale was the subject of the critically acclaimed 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. Before being caught and serving prison time in France, Sweden and the United States, Abagnale successfully created eight different identities for himself including an airline pilot, a lawyer, a physician and a Federal Bureau of Prisons agent. He supported himself by forging checks worth millions of dollars—he was so good that the FBI eventually employed him to help them learn how to stop forgers.
And then there was the most expensive counterfeit operation in modern times—the Bernie Madoff “Ponzi scheme” on Wall Street. An actual respected financier and investment counselor on Wall Street before being caught, Madoff’s fraud resulted in losses of $65 billion to investors by creating the illusion of sky-high returns. In typical Ponzi scheme fashion, new investments were used to pay previous investors fantastic payouts, payouts that attracted more new investors. No such cycle is sustainable, of course, and Madoff was sentenced to prison in 2009 for 150 years.
These are all sad stories. Our hearts grieve for those who, for whatever reasons, feel the need to perpetrate such counterfeit illusions and for those hurt by their actions. These stories, and others like them, raise the question: How can we protect ourselves from counterfeiters as we go about our daily lives? In general, the phrase caveat emptor comes to mind: “Let the buyer beware.” It’s up to us to carry out due diligence in this world—to check the details, read the fine print and “kick the tires.” As our parents told us, “If something doesn’t seem right, walk away.” And, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Counterfeits in the realm of medicine, finance, art, telephone scammers and knock-off consumer goods are prevalent, and we must remain alert. But there is another realm in which counterfeit activity can be even more devastating: the world of spiritual activity and truth. Sadly, we’ve seen too many examples of spiritual counterfeiters in today’s world.
SOURCE: Charisma News
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