Government Roots Out Problems with Mo. Dentist

Dr. Charles Sell of Missouri has entered a plea to charges of conspiracy to murder a federal witness and a federal law enforcement agent and mail fraud, United States Attorney James Martin announced in St. Louis.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Howard Marcus and Dorothy McMurtry are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Sell, 55, entered an Alford plea to one felony count of conspiracy to murder a witness with intent to prevent their testimony and to kill a federal agent in the performance of their official duties. Sell also entered an Alford plea to one felony count of mail fraud as charged in a separate indictment.

Sell appeared before United States District Judge Donald J. Stohr. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Dr. Sell was sentenced immediately to time served, or a period of 84 months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release. Six months of the supervised release will be served in a community correction facility.

These pleas involve two separate cases which have been combined. Court documents filed with the plea reportedly state:

Regarding the mail fraud case, beginning in 1989 and continuing to May 1997, Dr. Sell submitted false claims to Medicaid and private insurance companies to obtain payments for dental services that he did not render. Dr. Sell directed his employees to submit fraudulent x-rays and other treatment records to insurance companies and Medicaid. Dr. Sell altered the x-rays, manually and by computer, to show dental problems that did not exist, and on some occasions falsely represented that the x-rays of one patient were that of another patient.

Dr. Sell and his employees routinely “maxed out” the insurance coverage of his patients. This was done by annually reviewing the patient records before the end of the benefit period, and if the patient had not received service equal to the amount of their insurance coverage, they would submit false claims to the insurance companies and Medicaid to obtain the remaining amounts.

Regarding the conspiracy:

The first intended murder was for a witness that was to testify and had provided information to law enforcement regarding the above fraudulent activity. The second murder was intended to an FBI agent that was involved in the arrest of Dr. Sell.

“This conviction assures the government that Dr. Sell will be prohibited from ever possessing a firearm again; and the U.S. Probation Office will be able to monitor his conduct, including his psychiatric treatment, for the next three years to ensure the safety of the community,” said Martin.