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USA: Dentist found guilty of damaging patients’ teeth to boost profits

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A Wisconsin dentist was found guilty of healthcare fraud and other charges after he intentionally damaged his patients’ teeth to boost profits, raking in millions from his scheme.

Scott Charmoli, 61, was convicted of five counts of healthcare fraud and two counts of making false claims about his clients’ treatment last Thursday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

With his sentencing scheduled for June, Charmoli faces up to 10 years for each healthcare fraud charge and a maximum of five years for each of the two other charges.

Prosecutors say that Charmoli had routinely drilled or broken his clients’ teeth on purpose, charging them for additional treatment services to fix the damage he had just done. As a result, Charmoli’s profits ballooned, with the dentist going from making $1.4m and installing 434 crowns in 2014 to $2.5m in 2015, installing over 1,000 crowns, reported the Washington Post.

According to prosecutors, in 2015, Charmoli began pressuring his clients into getting unnecessary crowns, a dental procedure where a tooth-shaped cap is placed on a damaged tooth. Charmoli would drill or break his client’s teeth and send X-rays of the intentional damage to insurance as “before” photos to justify the crown procedures.

One client, Todd Tedeschi, testified that Charmoli pressured him into getting two crowns in one appointment, despite Tedeschi believing that his teeth were fine.

“It seemed excessive, but I didn’t know any better,” said Tedeschi. “He was the professional. I just trusted him.”

Some of the patients that Charmoli badgered into unnecessary procedures were also vulnerable, said prosecutors.

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Source: The Guardian, 16 March 2022

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