A dentist in Wisconsin was convicted on five counts of healthcare fraud last week after he was found guilty of intentionally damaging several patients’ teeth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
According to the indictment, Scott Charmoli, 61, would show his patients an X-ray of their teeth and lead them to believe that an innocuous line or spot meant their healthy tooth was fractured or decayed. “Patients, who believed Charmoli was the expert, accepted his false representations and agreed to the crown procedure,” court docs read.
Todd Tedeschi, a former patient of Charmoli, said he was advised to get two crowns done at once to avoid undergoing repeated anesthesia. Tedeschi admitted that those teeth referenced by Charmoli weren’t bothering him. “It seemed excessive, but I didn’t know any better,” he said. “He was the professional. I just trusted him.”
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Charmoli would break the tooth during the procedure, and take an X-ray, which would then be handed off to the insurance company as part of the claim. Since insurance wouldn’t cover the entire cost of the procedure, his patients were expected to cover the rest. He got $318,600 out of $745,570 in claims from Jan. 1, 2016, to June 28, 2018, and received $114,294 on claims in the first six months of 2019.
After Charmoli sold the practice that same year, a review of his past records revealed that he installed way more crowns than normal. An executive with an insurance company testified that the average number of crowns in state of Wisconsin was fewer than six for every 100 patients. Charmoli was averaging over 32 per 100 patients in 2019. Over a 20-month span, he had installed 1,600 crowns.
Charmoli is facing upwards of 20 years in prison. His sentencing will take place on June 17. He’s also facing medical malpractice lawsuits in Washington County from nearly 100 patients.