Prepare the spit bowl. This story is bound to make you crunch and leave a bad taste in your mouth.
A Wisconsin dentist has been found guilty of intentionally breaking his patients’ teeth with a drill to raise millions of dollars to repair the damage with dental crowns.
Licensed Grafton dentist Scott Charmoli, 61,’s alleged plan appears to have started in 2015 when the number of crowns he had installed soared. In 2015, Charmoli installed 1,036 kroner, far more than the 434 kroner in 2014. Amid the royal boom, his income increased by more than $1 million, from $1.4 million in 2014 to $2.5 million US dollars in 2015. according to court records.
From 2016 to 2019, Charmoli billed insurers and patients over $4.2 million for crown surgeries. according to the Attorney General. In each of those years, Charmoli ranked at or above 95th Percentile for the number of crowns placed by dentists in the state. A dental insurance company executive testified during Charmoli’s four-day trial that dentists in Wisconsin installed an average of fewer than six crowns per 100 patients in 2019. However, court documents show that Charmoli installed 881 crowns for its 1,131 patients in 2019 – a rate of about 78 crowns per 100 patients.
Accordingly a federal indictment, Charmoli’s scheme worked like this: He took an X-ray or photograph of the patient’s pearlescent white, pointed to a faint line or stain on a healthy tooth, and told the patient the stain indicated decay or a fracture that needed repairing with a Crown – a tooth cap that goes over a damaged tooth. Once the patient agreed to the procedure, Charmoli went to work with his bur to actually damage the healthy tooth, sometimes breaking off a piece, often a cusp. Charmoli would then stop and take another x-ray or photograph of the damage, which he would submit for insurance coverage to justify the crown. Then Charmoli would install the crown.
A former assistant to Charmoli, Baily Bayer, testified during the hearing that she found it odd that the dentist was taking X-rays after he began to drill loudly Reporting by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But Charmoli would justify the additional images by saying things like, “Insurance will want to see that,” Bayer testified.
Despite the suspicious behavior, no one elaborated on what was really going on — until Charmoli stopped seeing patients. In January 2019, Charmoli sold his Jackson Family Dentistry practice to fellow dentist Pako Major. In a blog post on the practice’s websiteMajor reports that Charmoli continued to see his patients there until August 2019. But Major said he only cracked the case when he began reviewing files for Charmoli’s former patients after leaving.
“As medical professionals, we take an oath to ‘do no harm’ to our patients, so I felt ethically obligated to report activity that I felt was suspicious,” Major wrote in the post. He also said he had “no knowledge of or connection with the alleged actions of Dr. Charmoli”.
Charmoli was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 15, 2020. By then, Charmoli’s personal fortune was worth more than $6.8 million, and he reportedly owned vacation properties in Wisconsin and Arizona Washington Post reporting.
Last week, the jury found Charmoli guilty of five counts of health fraud and two counts of providing false health information. Charmoli now faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count of healthcare fraud and a maximum of five years for each conviction for false information. His sentencing is scheduled for June 17. Almost 100 former patients are also suing him.
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