The dentists were less than "tooth"-ful, investigators say.
They'll give your teeth a check-up -- whether you need it or not.
That’s what three owners of dental clinics in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx were charged with by state investigators. The men allegedly stole $5.7 million in government health care funds by giving patients incentives to get unnecessary dental care.
State investigators said recruiters at the clinics even passed out fliers on the street recruiting patients who could possibly have Medicaid.
The patients were given bonuses to go to the dental clinics, from cash to CD players to McDonald’s gift certificates. And the government picked up the check.
Owners Mikhail Isakov and David and Arthur Ibragimov, of Queens and Dentist Bruce Speiser of Ronkonkoma face charges including grand larceny and insurance fraud.
Ibragimov's lawyer, Ron Rubinstein, said it's not illegal for clinics to pay Medicaid patients small amounts to entice them to get care, as long as the incentives are under $50. He also doesn’t believe that any patient got medically unnecessary care. Ibragimov previously faced charges related to the Medicaid program several years ago, but the case was dismissed.
The arrests come after state regulators followed reports on the clinics, stemming from a New York Times expose in 2005.