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[ATG] Anderson Dental Center owner, employees, dentists criminally charged
Start Date: 4/2/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/2/2014
Entry Description

ANDERSON, Ind. – Criminal charges including Medicaid fraud and corrupt business influence were filed Tuesday against the unlicensed owner of Anderson Dental Center Inc., three dentists who practiced at the center and four of its employees, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today.

The criminal charges filed in Madison County Circuit Court 6 allege that Anderson Dental Center owner Sally Metzner and her co-defendants engaged in a scheme to submit false and inflated claims for payment of dental services to the Indiana Medicaid program, sometimes using forged documents, in order to receive more Medicaid reimbursement than they were due.

“The Medicaid program funds dental care for Indiana’s neediest citizens, but if providers intentionally overbill Medicaid causing tax dollars to be wrongly paid out then all Indiana taxpayers are the victims.  The allegation here is that these defendants defrauded Medicaid so brazenly and repeatedly in operating their practice that it cannot be attributed to mistake or paperwork errors,” Attorney General Zoeller said.  The defendants are facing several Class C and D felony charges.

Sally Metzner, 57, Anderson, the unlicensed owner of Anderson Dental Center Inc., is charged with two counts of corrupt business influence (also known as racketeering) as a Class C felony.  Metzner also is charged with money laundering, Medicaid fraud, theft, forgery and practicing dentistry without a license.

Three dentists who treated patients at the practice are all charged with corrupt business influence, money laundering, Medicaid fraud and theft:

  • Paul Pangallo, DDS, 73, Indianapolis;
  • Jeffrey Rich, DDS, 69, Cicero;
  • Thomas Dubois, DDS, 46, Indianapolis.

 

Four other office employees are charged with corrupt business influence:

  • Jessica (Metzner) Worrell, 27, Anderson, also charged with forgery;
  • Beth Flynn-Lohrey, 45, Middletown, also charged with prescription drug fraud;
  • Chris Martin, 31, Anderson, also charged with prescription drug fraud;
  • Barbara Brooks, 62, Anderson, also charged with forgery.

 

A fifth office employee, Deborah R. Davis, 55, Middletown, is charged with prescription drug fraud only.

The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) assisted by the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service and under the authority of the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. A probable cause affidavit filed in Madison County Circuit Court 6 with the charges alleges that since 2006, Metzner and her accomplices engaged in an illegal scheme to trigger and receive overpayments from Medicaid -- funds that they then allegedly converted for their own personal use or invested back into the Anderson Dental Center, located at 1537 S. Scatterfield Road, Anderson.

The affidavit alleges the defendants accomplished this scheme by submitting billings to Medicaid for services they did not provide, exaggerating or “upcoding” the type of services rendered to receive a larger reimbursement than is allowable, submitting claims for work performed by dentists who were not authorized Medicaid providers, submitting claims for work purportedly performed by another dentist after she no longer worked at the office, and forging signatures of dentists who no longer worked at the practice onto a variety of forms submitted to the Medicaid office. 

Among the allegations:  Routine claims for nitrous oxide that should have been billed to Medicaid for approximately $30 each were instead fraudulently submitted as a more expensive procedure, “deep sedation,” billed for approximately $125 each, with the defendants recovering an ineligible reimbursement and pocketing the difference.  The affidavit alleges it was physically impossible for Anderson Dental Center to have performed deep sedation procedures on patients since it lacked the equipment to do so.

According to the affidavit, the fraudulent billing at the Anderson Dental Center allegedly continued even after authorities had executed search warrants at the office. The joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU),federal investigators and local authorities included warrant searches of the Anderson Dental Clinic on three occasions, review of Medicaid claims, interviews with employees and co-defendants and information from local pharmacies.

Estimated loss to the Medicaid program in ineligible payments to Anderson Dental Center is greater than $300,000, the affidavit alleges.

Now that criminal charges have been filed, Madison County Circuit Court 6 has set bond amounts for the defendants and initial court appearances will be scheduled in coming days.  Under the authority of Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rodney Cummings who approved the referral of the case, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office is participating in filing the charges and prosecuting the defendants, under a statute designed for such situations.

All defendants charged with criminal offenses are innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.  A conviction for a Class C felony would carry a potential sentence of two to eight years in prison, while a conviction for a Class D felony would carry a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.

Indiana law prohibits persons who are not licensed dentists from owning dental clinics.  Metzner, the owner, is unlicensed.  On December 6, 2013, the State Board of Dentistry issued a cease and desist order against Metzner, prohibiting her from engaging in the unlicensed practice of dentistry and ordering her to discontinue dental services at the office.  The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has also terminated the Medicaid provider status of dentist Paul Pangallo and indefinitely suspended payments for dentist Jeffrey Rich which means they cannot receive Medicaid compensation although they can still practice dentistry.

In a separate case arising from the same joint investigation, Metzner agreed in U.S. District Court to plead guilty to federal criminal charges of income tax evasion for an unpaid tax of $856,389.11. She will be sentenced April 3 in the federal case.  The Medicaid fraud and racketeering charges in state court are separate counts under state, not federal law, and can proceed irrespective of the federal plea agreement.


Attorney General Zoeller thanked Investigator Diane Hedges of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for her efforts investigating the case.

NOTE: The list of defendants, charges and probable cause affidavit filed in Madison County Circuit Court 6 are attached. 

 -30-

Location Information:
Madison County

State House
IN
Marion
Contact Information:
Name: Bryan Corbin
Phone: 317.233.3970
Email: Bryan.Corbin@atg.in.gov
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Attachments For This Entry:
    > Anderson Dental -- Summary of Charges
    > Anderson Dental - Probable Cause Affidavit
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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