A Metuchen, NJ dentist was charged on Thursday, March 8, 2012 with falsifying the dental records of three children who were among five victims of a house fire on Feb. 23 in South Plainfield.
Paresh Patel, 46, of Laurie Lane, Edison, NJ was charged with falsifying or tampering with dental records and obstruction of the administration of law by providing the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office with false dental records of three of the children who died during the fire.
He also was charged with insurance fraud by submitting five or more false claims totaling more than $1,000, and was charged with five counts of health-care claim fraud.
Patel, owner of the Metuchen dental clinic Healthy Smiles Dental Associates, was charged after initial efforts to identify the youngsters determined Patel provided records that showed certain dental work had never been performed. The false records prevented and delayed positive identification of the children.
Police further determined that after falsifying dental records between April and May 2011, Patel billed Medicaid for the procedures that never were performed.
Five family members perished in the Feb. 23 blaze in South Plainfield and four other family members were injured.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan says Paresh Patel, was charged with fraud after he provided records that showed certain dental work had never been performed on the children even though he had billed Medicaid for the work.
Patel's attorney, Lawrence Y. Bitterman, says he Patel has been practicing for 20 years and plans to enter a not guilty plea during his court appearance this week.