Dentist sentenced for defrauding investors to pay for travel, more

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A dentist who can no longer practice in Texas following disciplinary actions was sentenced for reportedly defrauding his dental practice investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars that he used to pay for travel, jewelry, and more, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dr. Clinton Herzog, who was convicted of wire fraud, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.1 million in restitution, according to a press release dated January 29 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

Herzog, who owned multiple high-end FLOSS Dental practices in Texas until they were closed in 2018, purportedly defrauded investors between 2016 and 2018. Investors agreed to make capital investments in limited liability companies (LLCs) created by Herzog to manage dental practices, according to the release.

The 49-year-old Pearland dentist promised, among other things, that the relevant LLCs would not combine investor funds with the assets of any other person. Herzog violated these agreements by co-mingling his own money with investment funds. He reportedly redirected investor money so he could spend it for personal expenses, including expensive meals, airline tickets and travel expenses, jewelry, and alcohol, according to the release.

Following a string of disciplinary actions, Herzog voluntarily surrendered his dental license in 2016.

Since 2011, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners had fined Herzog and placed him on probation. He was fined $3,000 for placing faulty prosthetics and giving wrinkle-reducing injections in exchange for patient referrals. Herzog was later fined $9,000 for multiple treatment failures, including failing to monitor a sedated patient and leaving a piece of a broken instrument inside the socket of a patient’s extracted tooth, according to orders from the dental board.

In 2011, Herzog made news for his unconventional approach to handling dental anxiety. He began offering free wine and beer to patients so they could unwind before their dental cleanings. Patients praised the promotion.

In 2017, local lawmakers introduced SB 404. The bill, which ultimately was not signed into law, called for a prohibition on healthcare practitioners, including dentists, from serving alcohol to patients and their guardians or guests. The bill also proposed imposing an administrative penalty for failure to comply.