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Attorney General Lockyer, Local Health Task Force Announce Arrest of Los Angeles Dentist and 14 Others to Break Up Alleged Denti-Cal Fraud Ring

Wednesday, February 23, 2000
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(LOS ANGELES) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the Los Angeles County Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) today reported the arrest of Dr. Yoram Isaacson and 13 others to break up an alleged Denti-Cal fraud ring operating in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

The criminal complaint filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court accuses Isaacson of operating a major fraud ring using unlicensed health personnel and over a dozen paid recruiters to bring patients to his three clinics in the cities of Pomona, Glendora and Montclair. Also arrested and charged were Isaacson's brother, Joseph, and father, David, for allegedly participating in the scheme to defraud Denti-Cal of more than $330,000.

The state Medi-Cal program provides payments for dental services to eligible poor and disabled patients under Denti-Cal. Qualified dentists participate as providers and bill the Medi-Cal program for services rendered.

In addition to Denti-Cal fraud, the Isaacsons, all of Los Angeles, are accused of paying 13 "cappers," who went door to door to recruit hundreds of Denti-Cal patients for the Isaacson clinics. State investigators found the Isaacsons paid the cappers varying amounts based on the level and quantity of services provided to each patient brought to a clinic. State law prohibits health care providers from paying persons to find and bring patients to the provider.

"This is the latest enforcement action in our crackdown on Denti-Cal fraud," Lockyer said. "As of today, we have made a total of 43 arrests and won 10 convictions for Denti-Cal fraud. The Isaacson case is one of the worst seen with evidence showing not only was government money stolen, but patients, including young children, were put at risk by having dental procedures performed by unlicensed clinic workers."

Sachi Hamai, HALT team coordinator, added: "The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services is extremely concerned about the practice of unlicensed dentistry. Practices such as those committed by Dr. Isaacson and his employees have had severe consequences for some of the patients, especially children, who were treated by unlicensed dentists. Patients have suffered permanent damage and serious injuries as a result of these dangerous practices."

Charged with the illegal practice of dentistry were Alvaro LaValle, 35, of Pomona; Joel Aguilar, 33, of Pomona; Ramon Mario Dominguez, 46, of Diamond Bar; and Nestor Saraos, 28, of Los Angeles. Dominguez and Saraos were taken into custody Wednesday. The men allegedly provided dental care to patients, including children, without being licensed by California.

Arrested and charged for the illegal recruitment of patients were: Donald Albert Sanchez, 56, of Apple Valley; Laura Sanchez, 43, of Apple Valley; Sandra Williams, 35, of Ontario; Lorraine Curtis, 36, of Bloomington; Oscar Favela, 59, of Rialto; Terry Lewis, 38, of Rialto; Brandi Pinkney, 29, of West Covina; Linda Martinez Chavez, 34, of Montebello; and Hungh Van Ty, 39, of Colton. Also charged for the illegal recruitment of patients were: Evelyn Williams, 34, of Pomona; Ricardo Favela, 27, of Montclair; and Kendra Maxwell, 24, of Ontario.

The case involved investigators from the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse in the California Department of Justice; HALT, which includes Los Angeles health and law enforcement agencies; San Bernardino Police Department, Montclair Police Department and state Board of Dental Examiners.

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