In Atlanta, Georgia a husband and wife team set up a dentist office without actually being dentists. How they pulled this off is a wonder since dentist job responsibilities take many years of school and training to perform. Dentistry is a specialized field that requires a license from the government in order to practice. People can’t just practice dentistry on patients without the proper license. If you’re asking Google to help you find “a local dentist near me” or “dental care in my area”, chances are you won’t find a dentist who is practicing without the proper certifications. By relying on online customer reviews and personal recommendations, it is unlikely you will be directed to the services of an unlicensed dentist. Be sure to read the reviews for each dental office you view and if you’re still not entirely convinced, you can always check up on them to make sure they have the proper license to practice dentistry.
Dallas woman Krista Szewczyk was accused of practicing as a dentist without a license in areas surrounding Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year and she now faces additional charges. Her husband, John Szewczyk, helped her run their alleged illegal dental office and also faces the charges.
A Paulding County grand jury indicted the couple on the additional charges on Dec. 19. This is Krista’s second indictment in Paulding County since August and she faces a similar charge for practicing dentistry without a license in Cobb County. For John, a former Paulding sheriff’s deputy, this indictment marks the first time he has been criminally charged in the case.
According to the 56-count indictment obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the couple is accused of racketeering, practicing dentistry without a license, insurance fraud, and writing an unlawful prescription. The indictment states that neither Krista nor John are licensed dentists, yet they owned and operated a business that provided dental services to unsuspecting members of the public.
Under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO, the couple is charged with two counts. Prosecutors often use RICO to prove that a legal business was being used for illegal purposes. As the dental office was a licensed business but the services they provided were illegal due to the lack of a dental license, investigators are applying RICO. The couple also fraudulently billed insurance companies.
According to the case’s investigators, they believe that John owned the business, paid bills, and assisted Krista in managing the office. Meanwhile, Krista allegedly applied fillings, pulled teeth, replaced crowns, and wrote prescriptions for pain medications in the dental office. This scheme not only hurt the patients, but professionals in the business. In the case of the 95% of DANB CDA Certificants who view dental assisting as a career and not just a job, Krista’s lack of medical license and dental training can be seen as an insult to those who dedicated time to dental assistant school.