7 dental fraud cases totaling $17M+

Here are seven dental fraud cases Becker's has reported so far in 2022, totaling more than $17 million in either restitution or cost of the fraud scheme:

1. Brian Bui, DDS, pleaded guilty in November to wire fraud charges for using his dental business to illegally obtain COVID-19 relief loans. He submitted false application paperwork and lied about the business' number of employees and monthly payroll expenses, leading him to receive approximately $1.89 million in loans from the Small Business Administration under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

2. Edward Buford III, DDS, was sentenced in November to 30 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and healthcare fraud. From January 2013 to May 2018, Dr. Buford led a scheme to file fraudulent Medicaid claims for dental services and recruited Medicaid beneficiaries by paying kickbacks and bribes. In addition to his prison sentence, Dr. Buford will complete three years of supervised release and pay $1,267,630 in restitution.

3. Santa Maria McKibbins, DDS, of Durham, N.C., was sentenced in November to one year in federal prison after being found guilty of tax fraud. An investigation revealed that she withheld information from a tax preparer regarding income and personal use of funds related to her business. A review of her expenditures found that her income exceeded what was reported to the IRS and that she used insurance and copayment checks to make payments on multiple cars and her home. Dr. McKibbins was also ordered to pay $235,298 in restitution.

4. Michael Egan, DDS, was sentenced in November to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for orchestrating a fraud scheme in which he fraudulently obtained $1.2 million in medical care loans for dental work that was never performed. 

5. Salwan Adjaj, of West Linn, Ore., pleaded guilty in September to stealing nearly $11.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for personal use. The former dentist submitted dozens of fraudulent applications to the Small Business Administration in an attempt to receive Economic Impact Disaster loans and Paycheck Protection Program funds from September 2020 through at least May 2021. After the Small Business Administration denied most of Mr. Adjaj's EIDL applications, he turned to the PPP program and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund with greater success. 

6. Kathy Thorner, a former office manager and bookkeeper of her husband's dental practice, Ashland, Ky.-based Caring Dentistry, pleaded guilty in May to federal tax charges after being accused of spending thousands of dollars on personal expenses and defrauding Internal Revenue Services. Ms. Thorner admitted to failing to pay taxes while spending $800,000 from business accounts on vacations, retail purchases, jewelry and other personal expenses. 

7. Trenna Denise Trice, of Columbus, Ga., was sentenced in April to 24 months in federal prison for stealing more than $240,000 from nonprofits, a local dental office and the Georgia Dental Society to support her gambling addiction and gambling losses. She was ordered to pay $240,259 in restitution.

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