Palestinian impersonates doctor, steals cash and car from unwitting Jewish family

Beersheba family fleeced out of thousands in cash, car, by illegal Palestinian migrant posing as a surgeon.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A con man dresses up like a doctor and convinces a family that he is the physician responsible for saving their relative’s life. The grateful family ends up losing thousands of dollars and even a car to the impostor.

It may sound like a stranger-than-fiction tale, but one family in the southern Negev city of Beersheba are the very real victims of the outlandish con.

According to an indictment obtained by Ynet, Ahmed Akila managed to fleece an unwitting family by posing as the surgeon who operated on a woman’s mother.

Wearing scrubs in what he staged as a chance meeting in a gas station, Akila, 33, approached the unnamed woman and said he remembered performing life-saving surgery on her mother at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center.

In reality, Akila had a long rap sheet for theft and fraud which earned him several prison terms. Born and raised in a Palestinian Authority-controlled city, he was illegally living in Israel.

He told the woman that he was new to the Beersheba area, and she invited him to have dinner at her home with her family the next day. Akila charmed the family during the meal, then said that he was in danger of being evicted from his apartment if he did not come up with 2,500 shekels ($800) immediately.

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Moved by his predicament, the woman’s husband gave Akila 3,000 shekels in cash ($970) and said he could stay rent-free in a housing unit that he owned behind the couple’s home. Akila took him up on the generous offer, but that wasn’t enough for the conman.

The next day, the woman’s husband agreed to drive Akila to work at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. While the husband briefly stopped on the way to the medical center and left the vehicle to retrieve something from his office, Akila stole 6,000 shekels in cash which he found in the car.

Finally, the couple’s son gave Akila his Israeli identification card with the understanding that the “doctor” would help him schedule an appointment at the hospital. Akila then asked to borrow the son’s car, saying that he had been called up to work at a hospital in the center of the country.

After Akila made off with the son’s car and ID and did not return for hours, the family understood that they’d been deceived and reported the theft to Beersheba police. Several days later, he was caught by the IDF at a checkpoint in Modi’in, after presenting the son’s ID at the crossing while dressed in scrubs.

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He faces charges of impersonation of another person for the purpose of fraud, theft of a vehicle, impersonation of a public employee and illegal entry into Israel, Ynet reported.

“This is a serious incident in which the defendant impersonated a doctor,” said Maj. Gen. Maor Matuk, head of the investigation from the Beersheba police, in a statement.

“He impersonated a public servant with the intent to deceive and trick people who put their trust in him. [The victims] simply believed him, because he charmed them.”