Calif. dentist indicted for $1M in fraudulent billings

A California dentist has been indicted on federal healthcare and mail fraud charges of billing more than $1 million for work never performed, sometimes for teeth patients didn't even have.

According to the U.S. attorney's office, Sacramento dentist David M. Lewis, DDS, 60, began targeting United Parcel Service (UPS) employees in 2008 for dental treatment. The UPS healthcare plan provided 100% coverage with no annual limits. Dr. Lewis offered cash and other incentives to UPS patients for getting dental care from him or for recruiting other UPS employees to receive treatment.

The grand jury's 18-count indictment alleges that Dr. Lewis submitted claims to Delta Health Systems, which administered the UPS healthcare plan, and falsely billed the plan for work that was never performed. In many instances, Dr. Lewis performed unnecessary dental work on healthy teeth of UPS employees, including root canals.

In some instances, Dr. Lewis drilled into healthy teeth, installed a temporary filling and had his assistants take x-rays of the temporary fillings. He then submitted claims to Delta with x-rays of the temporary fillings, claiming the x-rays showed caries, which he used to justify further restorations.

The Dental Board of California suspended Dr. Lewis' license in 2012 for billing for work he never performed or unnecessary and excessive treatments on patients' healthy teeth.

Dr. Lewis voluntarily surrendered his license last fall. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain from the fraud.

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