Unlicensed Fla. Dentist, Sons Rooted Out

April 5, 2005

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced the arrests of a Broward County man and his two adult sons on Racketeer Influenced Criminal Organization (RICO) and grand theft charges stemming from their operation of a dental clinic.

Those charged are Luis Vargas, 84, of Tamarac; Marcello Vargas, 54, of Coconut Creek, and Carlos Vargas, 59, of North Miami. They are accused of defrauding Florida’s Medicaid program of more than $300,000.

According to an investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Luis Vargas has not been a licensed dentist in more than 20 years, but was using a forged Florida license to continue performing dental procedures. He performed the dental procedures, including tooth extractions on children and adults covered under Medicaid, and caused false claims to be submitted to the Medicaid program for dental services that were substandard or not rendered at the Goldberg Dental Center in North Miami Beach.

Marcello Vargas was the business owner and Carlos Vargas managed the office while their father performed the procedures. None of the three men reportedly has a Florida dental license, but used the names of dentists previously employed at the facility when billing Medicaid for the services. Luis Vargas was licensed as a dentist in the State of New York more than 20 years ago, and a search warrant reportedly revealed a forged Florida Department of Health dental license in his name.

Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $15,000 fine on the racketeering charge, as well as five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each count of grand theft.

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