Police: Pennsylvania woman impersonated doctor to provide DOT physicals

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, July 02, 2014

A woman with an expired chiropractic license is facing felony charges of forgery, fraud and identity theft for her alleged role in a scheme to impersonate another doctor and provide DOT physicals for truckers.

Joann Elizabeth Wingate, 56, of South Middleton Township, Penn., was arrested June 28 at her home, which is where state police allege she performed at least 16 physicals on truckers.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a California trucker alerted authorities after he paid Wingate for a physical that was red-flagged by the California DOT. The trucker called the state police on June 5.

The trucker, who was in a nearby town on business, needed to have a physical to renew his medical certification. The driver told police he came in contact with Wingate after seeing a sign at the Blue Beacon Truck Wash advertising for DOT physicals, along with a phone number.

The affidavit states that “Dr. Wingate” picked the driver up in “an old, blue Ford Tempo” and drove him to her “office,” which was on the second floor of her townhouse. While there, the victim told police Wingate proceeded to administer a physical, including performing a “protein test” on a urine sample provided by the victim.
 
Wingate faxed the forms to the California DOT, and the driver called them to make sure the paperwork was received. At that point, the DOT representative told the driver the forms submitted by Wingate were from 2012 and were no longer valid. They also reportedly told the driver that some of the information from Wingate, including her medical certificate number, was incorrect. At that point, the driver contacted Wingate and received a refund of the $65 he paid for the exam.

The trucker later realized something was wrong with the physical after an official with the California Department of Transportation said there were problems with his trucker's license. That led the trucker to investigate Wingate on the Internet, at which point he suspected there was something wrong with her medical certificate, state police said.

The trucker managed to photograph Wingate's medical certificate in a second visit with Wingate and provided that to state police. Investigators later determined Wingate was using the license information of a psychiatrist from the Philadelphia area who shared the same last name.

The investigation also revealed that Joann Wingate had two chiropractic license numbers, one suspended and one inactive. The suspension occurred in October 2013, due to advertising violations for performing DOT physicals in the Norristown area.

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