BROOKSVILLE — He had a white lab coat, an identification card from Tampa General Hospital, business cards that referred to him as "Doctor" and a medical degree from the University of Connecticut — all items that a real pediatrician might possess.
But Gary Lloyd wasn't a real doctor at all, according to authorities. He just played one on the Internet.
Gary Lloyd, 50, of Weeki Wachee, was arrested Wednesday on charges of unlicensed practice of a health care profession and faces a similar charge in Pasco County. Lloyd remained in the Hernando County Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bail as of Wednesday evening.
"This is a real crime with potential victims," said Eulinda Jackson, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Health. "Someone could have potentially gotten hurt."
The investigation into Lloyd started Sept. 3 when the Florida Attorney General's Child Predator CyberCrime Unit received a complaint from the Florida Pediatric Society, which had noticed Lloyd was presenting himself as a doctor through a Web site, www.floridapediatrics.org.
On the site, Lloyd promises a "new approach to pediatric healthcare" and offers to see patients every day of the year, among other things. He claims to be a graduate of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, which was established only in 2006 and has yet to start offering classes.
Lloyd also posted a picture of himself wearing a white lab coast with a stethoscope around his neck. According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, the Web site was created on July 3 through the hosting service GoDaddy.
A day after authorities learned about the site, a detective at the Sheriff's Office placed a telephone call to the listed number to schedule an appointment for a fictitious child. A man answered the phone and identified himself as "Gary," according to the arrest report.
The detective asked if he could bring in the child for a physical exam required for school, and Lloyd told him that his clinic was still not open because of a dispute with state officials. Lloyd then went on to tell the detective about pricing for various exams and issues and said the clinic would likely be open in October, according to the report.
Authorities said Lloyd also told the detective the location on the Web site was his personal residence; that he was a licensed doctor; and that he had worked as a physician at the University of Connecticut, sometimes as the only one on staff.
A subsequent records check showed all those claims to be false, according to the report.
On Sept. 10, Lloyd reportedly went to the Pasco County Health Department to complete an application for a volunteer services group. Lloyd showed up in a white lab coat that read "Gary Lloyd, M.D." on the breast and offered a fabricated physician licensing number to the department, the report said.
Last Thursday, Hernando deputies served a search warrant at Lloyd's home at 10330 Yellowlegs Ave. in Weeki Wachee and found a number of items, including the lab coat, the diploma and the business cards. Deputies then issued an arrest warrant for Lloyd earlier this week.
Lloyd surrendered at the county jail Wednesday morning, according to the Sheriff's Office. A woman from the Pasco Health Department identified him through a photo lineup.
Lloyd, who works in pharmaceutical sales, has a lengthy criminal record, dating to December 1982, when he was arrested on a charge of second-degree larceny in Connecticut. Since then, Lloyd has been arrested on dozens of charges in a number of places, from vehicle theft in Dade County in 1987 to computer fraud in Pinellas County in 2001.
Jackson said there has been no evidence, thus far, that Lloyd actually attempted to treat any patients.
"We pretty much intervened at a point where there were no victims," she said.
Sgt. Donna Black of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said law enforcement agencies were continuing their investigation into Lloyd and couldn't release any more information at this time.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6120.