BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) - An East Greenwich man -- a former dentist whose license was revoked in two states -- has agreed to pay $237,500 in fines over allegations he illegally financed dental work, pressured patients into signing up for finance plans -- and either failed to treat people or performed shoddy treatment.
Gary Anusavice, 57, is no stranger to dental overseers in Southern New England. Back in 2005, Call 12 for Action discovered dozens of patients were angry with his work at Premier Dental in Pawtucket -- all of them alleging he was running the same schemes on them that he's now paying dearly for in Massachusetts.
Monday, the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced the $237,500 judgement against Anusavice. That will take care of victim restitution, civil penalties, attorney's fees and costs.
Anusavice is also barred from ever practicing dentistry in Massachusetts.
The Mass. A.G.'s lawsuit, originally filed in 2008, said Anusavice did the following:
- Lured patients to his practices with deceptive marketing
- Used high pressure sales tactics to get patients to agree to high cost dental treatment plans
- Failed to provide treatment or performed shoddy treatment
He's accused of running the schemes at three dental clinics: Fall River's Spectrum Dental, which later did business as Coast Dental, and Weymouth's Sierra Dental.
Later, the lawsuit said, Anusavice and his co-defendants packed up the practices without telling patients and skipped town -- without giving them medical records or prostheses the patients had paid for.
The Commonweath expects more claims against five remaining defendants to go to trial -- the alleged managers of the practices: Michael Rinaldi, Joseph Robbio, Vincent O'Neill and Heather Pavao, and dentist Dr. Merhad Haghkerdar (who also went by the name Michael Kane) -- sometime next year.
Same shenanigans, different state
Call 12 For Action first learned of problems with Anusavice in 2005 when dozens of Rhode Island patients said Anusavice and Premier Dental participated in credit card fraud, bait-and-switch schemes and deceiving patients into paying for expensive dental work that was never performed.
The Call 12 For Action investigation prompted the Rhode Island Department of Health to shut down Premier Dental and run Anusavice out of the state -- he was ordered to surrender his license to practice dentistry, and he's currently barred from practicing dentistry in Rhode Island.
According to the Dept. of Health's website, Anusavice was also sanctioned back in 1998, and ordered to serve a five year suspension.
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