Misrepresentation when selling practice results in punitive damaged

Successful plaintiff Dr. Anne Fabricus

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Here is an example of such a case:


A Cook County jury has awarded more than $500,000 to an Oak Park dentist who bought another dentist’s practice, then later learned that dentist defrauded patients and their insurance companies and inflated his revenue.

Plaintiffs Dr. Anne M. Fabricius and Oak Park Prosthodontics Ltd. sued Dr. Lawrence P. Smith, Corinne A. Smith and Distinctive Dental Services Ltd. in August 2014, alleging Lawrence Smith provided false and fraudulent patient information and financial records to Fabricius when she was interested in purchasing his dental practice.

The verdict, which was reached Friday after a trial before Cook County Associate Judge James E. Snyder, comprised $187,693 in compensatory damages, $309,051 in punitive damages and $90,186 in interest.

The verdict totaled $586,930.

Originally filed in the court’s Chancery Division, the case was transferred for trial to the Law Division in May.

Jurors found that Smith overstated his revenue to make his practice seem like more of a specialty operation than it actually was.

In her amended complaint filed in June 2015, Fabricius claimed she overpaid for Lawrence Smith’s practice because the purchase price was based on overstated revenues.

After obtaining a $775,000 loan, she took over the office and realized after meeting with her new patients that Smith would perform a simple procedure on a patient but bill as if it was a complex one.

Lawrence Smith countersued Fabricius and Oak Park Prosthodontics Ltd., claiming defamation and wrongful termination, both of which were voluntarily dismissed by Smith before trial.

Fabricius was represented by Duane Morris LLP partners John T. Schriver and Neville M. Bilimoria.

Schriver said the practice initially appealed to his client because the office was advertised as a high-end operation.

“She took over the practice and, for the first time, was able to look in patients’ mouths to see what he had actually done,” Schriver said.

She also said she would not have borrowed $775,000 from Bank of America to purchase Smith’s dental practice or entered into the lease in August 2013 had she been given accurate financial and patient information.

Schriver said his client feels vindicated after the three-year legal battle.

Carmen D. Caruso, a partner with the Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm, represented the defendants.

He said while he appreciated the jurors’ service, he was disappointed with their verdict.

“We are reviewing Dr. Smith’s next steps,” Caruso said.

Oak Park Prosthodontics, Ltd., et al., v. Lawrence P. Smith, DDS, et al., 14 CH 1259

Content retrieved from: https://www.chicagolawbulletin.com/archives/2017/09/26/500k-dentist-fraud-9-26-17

This is why proper background checking is SO important — California dentist who is ordered not to practice uses identity theft to get hired as an associate

A dentist pleaded no contest Tuesday to felony charges alleging that she performed unnecessary work on several patients in Daly City and then altered a judge’s order and stole someone’s identity to seek other dental jobs during her pending court case, San Mateo County prosecutors said.

Amishi Patel, 43, was a part-time dentist at Campus Heights Dental Care in Daly City, where she performed unnecessary dental work on at least eight patients between April 2014 and May 2015, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

The case came to light when the family of a patient contacted the Dental Board of California, which contacted the state Department of Insurance, which contacted the district attorney’s office about the alleged insurance fraud, Wagstaffe said.

Among the patients was a 16-year-old girl who Patel recommended receive 16 fillings. Patel performed eight of the fillings before the girl’s father became suspicious and took her for a second opinion, prosecutors said.

Three subsequent dentists determined the girl had no signs of cavities, did not need any fillings and said the eight fillings from Patel were so poorly performed that they needed to be replaced, prosecutors said.

Patel was charged this February for the cases in Daly City and a judge ordered her not to practice dentistry as a condition of her release on bail, but investigators eventually learned she had altered the order to make it appear that it had been rescinded days later, prosecutors said.

Content retrieved from: http://www.sfexaminer.com/bay-area-dentist-pleads-no-contest-performing-unnecessary-work-identity-theft/

She used the altered order to get temporary employment as a dentist in Fremont, where she treated four patients.

Patel also called another dentist with a name similar to hers, pretending to be from a dental insurance company, and obtained the dentist’s license number that she then used to apply for several dental jobs in Fremont, including an interview attended by an undercover officer, prosecutors said.

Those cases took place between June and July of this year, Wagstaffe said.

Patel pleaded no contest Tuesday to felony insurance fraud, assault, identity theft and forgery on the condition that she receive a sentence of up to a year in county jail and a referral to mental health court, according to the district attorney’s office.

“She got a very light sentence,” Wagstaffe said of the plea deal, adding that San Mateo County Superior Court Donald Ayoob “had leniency for her because he thinks there are mental issues there.”

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of up to five years in state prison for Patel.

“We think the only mental issue is she’s a fraud,” Wagstaffe said.

The case will return to court on Jan. 12 for an intake conference for the mental health court and to set a sentencing date.

Patel’s defense attorney Jonathan McDougall was not immediately available for comment on the case.

Dentist Accused of Arson to Collect Insurance Proceeds

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — A Los Angeles-area dentist accused of conspiring to torch his Corona office to collect property insurance payouts is facing more than a dozen felony charges. Dr. Armen Shaant Megerdichian, 51, of Winnetka was arrested Monday and arraigned on 13 felony counts, including filing false insurance claims, concealing facts in the process of filing a claim and grand theft.

Megerdichian pleaded not guilty before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Emma Smith, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for July 11 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

The doctor posted a $600,000 bond and was released from the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside on Monday afternoon.

Megerdichian’s alleged co-conspirator, Jonas Borsca Jr. of Riverside, was arrested and charged last month with filing a fraudulent insurance claim and knowingly preparing a false claim Borsca posted a $35,000 bond and was released from custody prior to his scheduled arraignment.

Another defendant, 57-year-old Cornel Lucaci of Corona, is charged separately with arson, burglary, filing false insurance claims, grand theft, forgery and identity theft.

Lucaci is being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. He’s scheduled to make a pretrial appearance Wednesday at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

The defendants allegedly orchestrated an arson at the Parkridge Dental Spa on Parkridge Avenue in March 2014. The business not only offered dental services, but also therapeutic cosmetic treatments.

The total sum of insurance payments disbursed after the fire was unclear.

Corona Fire Department arson investigators turned up clues that the blaze had been intentionally set, but gathering and processing evidence to justify charges in the case took four years, authorities said.

According to the Dental Board of California, Megerdichian has an active license to practice dentistry. He has no documented prior felony convictions.

Borsca and Lucaci also have no documented priors in Riverside County.

Content Retrieved From: https://www.beckersdental.com/dentists/33835-california-dentist-accused-of-setting-fire-to-practice-to-collect-insurance-pay-out-now-faces-13-felony-charges.html

Ballantyne NC dentist charged with embezzlement, calls it a business dispute

Update September 2019:

A jury has ordered Dr. Ghim to repay  $864,000 (including an amount of $171,314 specifically identified as for “embezzlement”, and a further $191,000 removed from the practice without authorization) to Dr. Ramesh K. Sunar, with whom he formerly practiced.

Dr. Ghim had originally been charged criminally, but the charges were dismissed.  Dr. Sunar then sued Dr. Ghim.


Original story:

A South Charlotte dentist is scheduled to appear in Mecklenburg County Criminal District Court on Monday on an embezzlement charge.

Dr. Steven Ghim is charged with felony embezzlement of more than $100,000, court records show. The offense date is listed in court records as Feb. 5, 2011.

WSOC-TV reported Friday that Ghim is accused of embezzling $124,000 from his Blakeney practice for about 11 months between 2011 and 2012.

Content retrieved from: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article150266437.html#storylink=cpy

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Acquitted of murder charges, Kingston NY dentist goes to prison for perjury, insurance fraud

Kingston dentist Gilberto Nunez sentenced to 2-1/3 to 7 years in prison

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> The Kingston dentist who was acquitted last year of killing his lover’s husband was sentenced on Tuesday to a maximum of seven years in state prison for numerous unrelated charges.

Gilberto Nunez, 49, of Poughkeepsie, was sentenced by Ulster County Judge Donald A. Williams for charges related to insurance fraud and lying on a pistol permit application. Williams called Nunez a “calculated liar” who has “shown absolutely no remorse.”

“You are devoid of any shame,” Williams said. “Tragically, and perhaps pathologically, you believe that society’s rules do not apply to you.

“Because I see no remorse, I see no chance of rehabilitation,” the judge said.

Nunez was convicted of a total of 12 felonies at three separate trials in Ulster County Court in 2016:

• During the spring trial at which he was acquitted of murdering Saugerties resident Thomas Kolman, Nunez was found guilty of two counts of perjury for having a fake CIA identification card on his computer and for giving Kolman’s wife, Linda, with whom Nunez was having an affair, a letter purporting to be from a CIA agent.

• In October, he was convicted of grand larceny, insurance fraud and falsifying business records, all related to an insurance claim he submitted after a February 2014 fire at a building he owned next to his dental office on Washington Avenue in Kingston. The jury agreed with the allegation that Nunez improperly received an $8,400 insurance payment for what he claimed was rent he lost due to the fire.

• And in November, he was found guilty of perjury, offering a false instrument, and filing an apparently false sworn statement for claiming on a pistol permit application that he never was terminated or discharged from employment or military service for cause. Nunez was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1990 under “other than honorable conditions” after being absent without leave, or AWOL, for almost three years.

Williams sentenced Nunez to 1-1/3 to four years in prison for each of the convictions associated with the pistol permit application, to be served concurrently; and one to three years for each of the charges associated with the insurance claim, also to be served concurrently.

But the first and second sentences will be served consecutively, meaning the full term is 2-1/3 to seven years — with the minimum reduced to two years because of time Nunez already has spent in jail.

Nunez also was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for the charges related to the fake CIA documents, but that sentence is to be concurrent with the others, so it doesn’t raise the total.

Orange County Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese, the special prosecutor at all three of Nunez’s trials, asked Williams to give Nunez the maximum allowable sentence for each charge and to make all of them run consecutively, which could have led to a maximum of 42 years in prison.

In arguing for the harsh sentence, Albanese said Nunez committed the crimes to manipulate others for his own benefit.

“He is truly evil,” she said. “Society deserves protection from his sociopathic, narcissistic behavior.”

Defense attorney Evan Lipton asked Williams to order just six months of jail time and five years of probation, the sentence recommended by the Ulster County Probation Department. Pointing to 130 letters sent to the court in support of Nunez, Lipton said the dentist is a respected member of the community.

Williams said that under other circumstances, the charges of which Nunez was convicted probably would have led to a plea bargain resulting in misdemeanor charges, and the judge scoffed at the suggestion by Albanese that all of the sentences run consecutively, or back to back.

Still, the judge had harsh words for Nunez.

“What these trials demonstrated is that he was an individual who was consumed, consumed by an illicit affair” and was “willing to do absolutely anything at all in order to promote his prurient interest,” the judge said.

Williams said the thing he found “most troubling” was the “eerie calm” Nunez displayed during the six hours of police interrogation about the death of Thomas Kolman, who Nunez claimed was his best friend.

“What struck this court … was how eerily calm you were through this interview,” the judge said to Nunez. “That eerie calm will never leave me.”

Nunez was charged with second-degree murder in October 2015 for Thomas Kolman’s November 2011 death. Prosecutors alleged the dentist killed the 44-year-old man by lacing a cup of coffee with a medical sedative so that Nunez could have Linda Kolman to himself.

The defense in the murder trial said Nunez had nothing to do with the death and that it could have been the result of a heart problem.

Nunez was freed from the Ulster County Jail on $1 million bail shortly after his murder arrest, but he was returned to the jail after his November conviction in the pistol permit case to await sentencing.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://www.dailyfreeman.com/general-news/20170207/kingston-dentist-gilberto-nunez-sentenced-to-2-13-to-7-years-in-prison

After Assuming The Identity Of A Dead Colleague, NJ Dentist Received A $1.1 Million Fine

One New Jersey man sought to carry on the memory of a deceased dentist in a way that has landed him with a hefty bill. According to the New York Daily News, Roben Brookhim will face a $1.1 million fine for assuming the identity of  John Kirkland Jr.

Brookhim, 58, reportedly issued bills to Medicaid under Kirkland’s identity at Associated Dental from 2005 to 2012. In addition to this million dollar fine, Brookhim is barred from practicing dentistry for 50 years. In a statement issued by the chief counsel of the Inspector General, Gregory Demske, Brookhim’s case will serve as a lesson to those who plan to follow in his illegal footsteps. “This case sends a strong warning that individuals who intentionally circumvent exclusion to defraud Federal health care programs face substantial consequences.”

Demske adds that the 50-year ban is also “one of the longest exclusion periods ever imposed by our office.” Brookhim’s assumed motive for this incident stemmed from the indefinite loss of his practicing license in 2004. NJ.com reports that medical officials noticed issues with Brookhim’s billing methods, and decided to strip him of his license in 1999, but temporarily. It was revoked five years later when authorities uncovered that he was still practicing the same illegal methods.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://www.vibe.com/2017/01/dentist-identity-theft-of-dead-colleague/

Ex-VA dentist gets 2 years of probation for stealing gold, equipment from clinic in Nebraska

A former Omaha dentist at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center was sentenced Thursday to two years on probation in the theft of precious metals and dental equipment from the facility.

U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom issued the sentence, which included a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment, after Randall Toothaker, 59, pleaded no contest last month to theft of government property. He faced up to 10 years in prison.

Investigators say Toothaker took more than $16,000 worth of dental equipment and dental gold while working at the VA dental clinic in 2013. Officers searched his car outside the clinic and found a bag containing clinic property.

 Toothaker declined to comment, but his attorney, Alan Stoler, said his client was satisfied with the sentence.

“It’s a fair disposition of this case,’’ Stoler said.

Before Strom’s ruling, Stoler urged probation, telling the judge that Toothaker had compiled “an excellent career in dentistry.’’

“He (Toothaker) has been the subject of much ignominy,’’ Stoler said. “He’s willing to accept punishment from this court.’’

In December, Stoler told the court that Toothaker was working for a dental group in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://www.omaha.com/news/crime/dentist-accused-of-stealing-in-gold-from-va-pleads-not/article_4bcb3d0e-1822-11e4-91a3-0017a43b2370.html

CT dentist gets prison term for embezzling from practice

Dentist Gets Prison Term

February 05, 2004

The co-owner and vice president of a West Hartford dental practice was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay more than $340,000 he fraudulently diverted from the practice.

Dentist Jay L. Mestel, 43, of Weatogue, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud in September, told U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton that he has already made restitution to West Hartford Family Dentistry, federal officials said.

Arterton ordered Mestel to surrender to the U.S. Marshal on June 11. She also sentenced him to two years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine and ordered him to file amended income tax returns.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://articles.courant.com/2004-02-05/news/0402050098_1_dentist-gets-prison-term-ordered-sentenced

FL Dentist steals partner’s prescription pads to get oxycodone

A Lauderhill dentist is accused of using his business partner’s prescription pad to get oxycodone, officials said.

Joseph Gorfien, a partner at dental practice Gorfien & Jacobsohn, was arrested Wednesday after an investigation by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said that Gorfien used Henry Jacobsohn’s professional license information and prescription pads to forge and fill prescriptions for oxycodone without his partner’s knowledge.

When a reporter called the dental practice Wednesday, a recorded message said the office was closed for the day.

Gorfien is charged with 11 counts of purchase of oxycodone, one count of obtaining controlled substances by fraud or forgery and one count of criminal use of personal identification information.

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the case.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

A really bad way to start your dental career — dental student arrested for stealing NBDE exam questions

Attorney General Spitzer and State Education Commissioner Richard Mills today announced the arrests of three city residents in the theft of the dental licensing exam administered by the American Dental Association. The defendants used a high tech system involving a concealed camera and computer monitor to steal the test, which is given to an estimated 20,000 dental students nationwide annually. The test, which is administered twice a year, is taken by students who wish to obtain a license to practice dentistry.

The theft allegedly occurred when one person posing as a test taker transmitted the image of the exam using a concealed camera to the two co-defendants who were in a car outside monitoring the transmission on a computer monitor. The defendants are: Svetlana Bogomolova, 28, of 2 Gaylord Drive North, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Yelena Tayba, 35, of 201 Brighton Ave., Brooklyn N.Y. and Nicola Kapitanov, 33, of 67 McArthur Ave., Staten Island N.Y.

“These defendants threatened to put dental patients throughout New York at risk,” said Spitzer. “Had their plans to sell the tests been successful, an unknown number of unqualified dental school graduates would have received a license to practice.”

State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said “The arrests were the result of quick action and great teamwork between the Attorney General and the State Education Department. Those arrested used sophisticated electronic equipment. This shows the need to anticipate increasingly varied and clever schemes to defraud the public. We will continue to take all possible actions to protect the public.”

The defendants are charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, and Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree.

The case was investigated for the Department of Education’s Office of Professional Discipline by Supervising Investigator Thomas Meade and Senior Investigator Wanda Meade. The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Ronda Lustman, under the supervision of Criminal Prosecutions Chief Janet Cohn and the head of the Criminal Division, Peter B. Pope.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com