10th Arrest Made as Consumer Affairs
Cracks Down on Phony “Dentists”
NEWARK - The Newark Police Department, working with investigators from the Division of Consumer Affairs' Enforcement Bureau, on July 20 arrested two men for unlicensed practice of dentistry, the ninth and tenth such arrests in northern New Jersey within the past year.
Unlicensed individuals operating out of apartments, basements, and dental laboratories have performed dental procedures and also administered prescription medications through injections or by dispensing prescription drugs. Patients have sustained injuries that included broken teeth that were not fully extracted, unconsciousness following injection of anesthesia and infections.
“Our Enforcement Bureau investigators are teaming up with local police departments to shut these so-called 'dentists' down. The public's health, safety and welfare is clearly being put at risk when unlicensed individuals attempt to practice dentistry,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said.
Unlicensed practice of dentistry is a third-degree crime under the state's criminal code. The Board of Dentistry within the Division can assess civil penalties.
“The licensing requirements established by the Board of Dentistry ensure that those treating patients have the education and skills to do so,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director. “Patients must understand the needless risk they take when they go to an unlicensed person for dental work.”
Newark Police arrested Carlos Bello and Aristoteles Berenzon and charged both with unlicensed practice of dentistry.
The previous undercover investigations conducted by Enforcement Bureau investigators and local police departments that resulted in arrests for unlicensed practice of dentistry are as follows:
- Marly Vasquez was arrested by the Jersey City Police Department on July 8, 2009. A second person, Francisco R. Macias, was charged with conspiracy to practice unlicensed dentistry and possession of a prescription legend drug;
- Ramon Quevedo was arrested by the Union City Police Department on March 26, 2009;
- Libia Marcos was arrested by the Garfield Police Department on March 18, 2009 and also charged with obtaining prescription drugs without a prescription and possession of hypodermic syringes;
- Carlos L. Ferreira was arrested by the Elizabeth Police Department on February 4, 2009;
- Luis Ponce was arrested by the West New York Police Department on November 7, 2008 and also charged with possession of prescription legend drugs;
- Alvaro Velez-Naranjo was arrested by the North Bergen Police Department on November 6, 2008 and was also charged with three counts of possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (prescription drug) and possession of hypodermic syringes;
- Luis Eduardo Gallo was arrested by the Union City Police Department on July 17, 2008. He was indicted on September 23, 2008 by a Grand Jury.
(Gallo was working in the office of a licensed dentist, Vinod S. Brahmbhatt. Dr. Brahmbhatt faces disciplinary action by the Board of Dentistry.)
Consumers who suspect an unlicensed person is offering service that only a licensed dentist can legally perform can contact the state Board of Dentistry at 973-504-6405. Complaints can be filed online at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/complaint/dentcom.pdf .
Consumers on limited budgets who are in need of dental services have options for treatment, including becoming a patient at the New Jersey Dental School in Newark or going to a community health clinic that offers dental services.
The New Jersey Dental School is part of the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey and services are performed by predoctoral or postgraduate students who work under the direction of faculty members who arelicensed dentists. For more information, call 973-972-7370.
Online information about available dental health clinics can be viewed at www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/newborn/documents/dental_directory.pdf .