Cherie R. Dillon, 62, will spend five years in prison for completing dental procedures that legally could only be performed by a dentist.
Dillon drilled and pulled teeth, provided patients at her Payette office with fillings and dentures, and offered other procedures that went far beyond her license as a dental hygienist. Dillon did not attend dental school and did not have a license beyond a hygienist’s.
At the same time, she billed patients for dental hygiene services performed without the supervision and direction of a dentist, required under state law and licensing requirements.
Under a preliminary order, Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered Dillon to forfeit $847,016 in illegal proceeds and to pay $549,605 in restitution. A final order is expected to be issued following a hearing Aug. 9.
Dillon pleaded guilty to two dozen counts of health care fraud and an equal number of counts of aggravated identity theft. Her change of plea came in January, after four days of trial.
Dillon founded her Payette practice, Dental Healthcare With Heart, in August 2005. She hired dentists to work for her on a part-time basis in exchange for sharing one-quarter to one-third of the money she took in from health care benefit providers for services provided by the dentists.
Dillon took advantage of the condition of one of her contract dentists, Dr. Theodore Fricke, who was suffering from severe health problems that required in-home health care. In late 2010, Fricke’s physician certified he was fully disabled for the purpose of disability insurance.
Dillon fraudulently billed Medicaid and insurance companies for services she said were performed by Fricke between 2010 and 2013, authorities said. She billed $1.5 million during those years, according to court documents.
Prosecutors introduced evidence that Dillon renewed Fricke’s dental license and a license for prescribing controlled substances. She even completed online continuing education requirements for Fricke.
Dillon carried on a ruse that Fricke continued to practice at Dental Healthcare With Heart, telling other contract dentists that Fricke worked on a day they weren’t in the office.
Prosecutors said Dillon stamped medical records, letters and billing documents with Fricke’s signature stamp.
Dillon deposited “substantial” amounts of cash into retirement accounts for her and her husband. The amounts, prosecutors said, “exceeded the amount paid to any contract dentist” performing actual dental procedures at the practice.
If insurance companies had known treatments were billed by a dental hygienist working outside the scope of her license, they would not have paid for the treatments.
The Idaho State Board of Dentistry pressured Dillon into surrendering her dental hygienist license in June 2016, after the allegations surfaced.
The case was investigated by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Idaho Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and state law enforcement partners are committed to vigorously pursuing health care benefit fraud,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez said.
Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/crime/article154852059.html#storylink=cpy
POCATELLO – Pocatello police released the name Tuesday of the third person involved in the grand theft embezzlement case at Idaho State University’s dental education program.
Dianne Gilbert responded to a felony summons Tuesday after prosecutors sent them out to the three suspects last week.
Gilbert, 43, is a dental assistant with Pocatello Family Dentistry, 465 Memorial Drive, which provides a resident training program for local dentistry students.
Sabra Knight, 35, another dental assistant with Pocatello Family Dentistry, and Marlene Funk, an administrative assistant with the Department of Dental Sciences at ISU, were also charged in connection with the case. Gilbert and Knight have been charged with accessory to grand theft by embezzlement, and Funk faces charges of grand theft embezzlement. All three suspects are due in court Thursday.
Police have said the embezzlement case resulted in less than $10,000 being stolen from ISU’s dental program through falsified payroll forms.
“(Funk) is the primary suspect,” said Capt. Steve Findley, adding it appears Funk initiated the entire case.
None of the suspects involved in the case could be reached for comment.
Pocatello Family Dentistry declined to comment on the matter and directed questions toward James Fletcher, ISU’s vice president of finance and administration. Fletcher could not be reached for comment.
Pocatello police initiated an investigation of ISU’s dental program on May 13 after the university’s Department of Public Safety alerted the local law enforcement officials of an internal audit into the department.
ISU began its internal audit after a whistle-blower alerted the university to payroll irregularities in the dental program.
Police said the three suspects with the dental program had allegedly recorded faulty data on their time sheets resulting in losses of less than $10,000.
Idaho Falls police said Friday that a man embezzled more than $35,000 from two dentist offices between January 2011 and July 2012.
Jared D. Sloan, 36, was served a warrant in Bonneville County Court Wednesday for grand theft stemming from a case investigated by the Idaho Falls Police Department.
The IFPD requested the warrant following an investigation into the embezzlement of $38,254 from Foothills Dental and Riverwest Dental between January 2011 and July 2012. Police said he used company credit and debit cards.
Woman earlier pleaded guilty to theft from Sun Valley Dental
Posted on Jan 30, 2015
by Terry Smith
An embezzlement case that lingered in the Blaine County court system for two years was finally closed last week after the defendant, a former employee of Sun Valley Dental, was sentenced to 60 days in jail.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 20, before 5th District Court Judge Jonathan P. Brody, Barbara Lynn Adams was also given a suspended six-year prison sentence, placed on supervised probation for three years, fined $1,500 and ordered to pay restitution of $8,100. She was given credit for two days already spent in jail.
Adams had remained free on $25,000, which was posted following her arrest in February 2013. She was represented by Ketchum attorney Andrew Parnes under his public defender contract with Blaine County.
The case was assigned to Parnes after Adams’ previous public defender, former Ketchum attorney Daniel Dolan, was appointed Camas County magistrate judge in late 2013.
The case was assigned to Brody, who normally presides in Minidoka County, following a disqualification motion filed in May 2013 by Dolan against Judge Robert J. Elgee. Dolan, by Idaho judiciary rules, was not required to state a reason for the disqualification. However, Elgee had previously sent convicted embezzlers to prison.
Adams, a 47-year-old Hailey resident also known as Barbara Lynn Hall, pleaded guilty to the felony crime of grand theft by embezzlement in October 2014. Her plea, as negotiated by Parnes with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, was what is referred to as an “Alford plea,” wherein a defendant can maintain their innocence and not admit guilt but acknowledge that prosecutors likely have sufficient evidence that would lead to a conviction.
Adams was charged with grand theft by embezzlement following an investigation by the Ketchum Police Department that started in 2012. According to an investigation report, Adams was accused of writing at least 13 checks to herself, without authorization from Sun Valley Dental, totaling about $40,000 during a four-year period between 2006 and 2010.
A jury trial was started on the case in April 2014 but was aborted when Brody declared a mistrial because of new information, possibly affecting the case, that was disclosed by a state witness, a forensic accountant, while the trial was under way.