Dental Clinic Operators Drilled in False Claims Scam

April 29, 2005

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced the sentencing 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.

Luis Vargas, 84, of Tamarac; Marcello Vargas, 54, of Coconut Creek; and Carlos Vargas, 59, of North Miami pled guilty to the charges, with the sons receiving prison sentences and the father being placed under house arrest.

According to an investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Luis Vargas had not been a licensed dentist in more than 20 years, but was using a forged Florida license to continue performing dental procedures. He reportedly performed the dental services on children and adults covered under Medicaid and submitted false claims 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 services. 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. The three men have no prior criminal convictions.

Marcello Vargas and Carlos Vargas each received a five year prison sentence. Luis Vargas was sentenced to five years of house arrest. The three were also ordered to pay a joint sum of more than $340,000 in restitution.

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