Praise for prosecutors: Ind. attorney general sets high standard
April 9, 2014 -- On April 1, 2014, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General filed criminal charges against principles and employees of Anderson Dental Center. Defendants are alleged to have engaged in variety of criminal conduct, including dental Medicaid fraud, forgery of documents, money laundering, theft, corrupt business influence (racketeering), prescription drug fraud, and practicing dentistry without a license. All defendants are presumed innocent until or unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court of law.
Several elements make this case very special. First, in the spirit of governmental full disclosure and transparency, the complete investigative report of Diane Hedges, the state investigator for the Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), was posted on the Office of the Indiana Attorney General's website. This report and investigation, assisted by Sheila Green of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Neal Freeman of the FBI, was exemplary in its thoroughness and detail. This type of evidence and report is the solid backbone of a criminal case for any state or federal criminal prosecutor. Good governmental investigators such as these are not paid nearly enough, nor appreciated enough by the public. Their work deserves great praise.
Too frequently, criminal charges are not brought forth in prosecution of dental Medicaid scams. Often, only civil charges are rendered, and cases are usually settled for pennies on the dollar, with no admission of guilt. Prosecutors are allowed to close a case. Nondentist owners who may be pulling all the criminal strings are rarely indicted. The crooks go back to business as usual, poor children are hurt, and taxpayers are ripped off once again. The cycle continues. Perhaps this time a chain was broken?