This is a fact scenario you don’t see every day. It also brings forth another Massachusetts criminal defendant who likely thought he would never see himself being prosecuted for felony crimes.
Michael Clair, 53 years of age and hereinafter the “Defendant” was once a practicing dentist in Fall River. Now, he lives in Maryland. Soon, however, he may be back in the Commonwealth residing in involuntary government housing.
You see, the Defendant has pleaded guilty to an apparent scheme in which he was involved while practicing in Fall River.
Folks would go to the Defendant to get, among other things, root canals done. And the Defendant would give them root canals. However, it would appear that he used some unknown cost-cutting measures. For example, he would substitute paper clips instead of stainless steel posts, according to Boston’s Attorney General.
Perhaps that would not have been so bad if he had shared the savings. However, not only did he not tell his patients, but he also failed to mention it to Medicaid. In fact, he is said to have billed Medicaid for the cost of the stainless steel posts he was supposed to have used.
Presto! Change-o! The dentist became the Defendant.
Facing Medicaid Fraud, Grand Larceny and Assault and Battery charges, the Defendant has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Incidentally, he has also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, intimidation of a witness, and illegally prescribing hydrocodone, Combunox, and Percocet.
All around bad news for the Defendant.
But, wait! There’s more!
This situation apparently began coming to light when the Defendant was investigated, in 2002, from the Medicaid (MassHealth) program. The Defendant was suspended from the program. Determined not to be a “quitter”, after his practice , Harbour Dental, hired other dentists who had not been ejected from the program, he apparently picked up where he left off. He began filing claims again, using their information for services he provided. According to AG Coakley’s office, this totaled about $130,000 over the course of two years.
In March 2010, a Bristol County grand jury indicted the Defendant and he was arraigned in April. He was released and ordered not to have any contact with the complainants in the case.
By November, he was facing the new charges of tampering with evidence and intimidating a witness.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Making One’s Legal Woes Worse
In all fairness, paper clips can sometimes be used temporarily in root canals. The key word there is “temporarily”. Investigators claim that the Defendant did not intend to replace them . After all, that would work against the cost-cutting goal. Part of the problem was, though, if left in, in the malleable paper clip can lead to infection.
“What is with the assault charges? “
Probably because of the false pretenses which he used to touch the complainants. They thought they were getting proper dental care.
Of course, while e theory of the battery is sound, assault really isn’t – . the complainants were never put in fear.
Well, at least more fear than usual when one goes the dentist.
But why quibble?
What is remarkable about this tale is that it would seem as if he Defendant was pretty much begging for as much serious trouble as possible.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Defendant did not realize he was breaking the law in the beginning. As time went on, he should have caught on.
But he kept pushing it so that he fully seemed to be figuratively thumbing his nose at the system.
For the most part, these are Massachusetts white collar crimes.
“That means that he is likely to just get a slap on the hand, right?”
Not really. Not anymore. Prosecutors and judges like to make examples about folks like this who arguably seem to think themselves above the law. He is also facing felony charges.
You see, prisons are not just for the violent and the dealers in drugs and guns. What drives many prosecutions, particularly high profile ones, is publicity and political expedience.
So…when the unexpected happens…whether deserved or not…do not rest on your assumptions about the law and who really gets punished.
Consult an expert.
An experienced criminal defense attorney – type expert.
To see the article upon which this blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/01/former-fall-river-dentist-pleads-guilty-using-paper-clips-root-canals-and-medicaid-fraud/EsdWMLWDclGDNwaFhzFDTP/index.html