Today’s news:

Middle Village dentist stole from patients, insurers: Brown

A 40-year-old Middle Village dentist with a family practice was charged Monday after he allegedly bilked four insurance companies and many of his patients out of thousands of dollars during a period of four years, the Queens district attorney said.

David Lewis, who lives in New Hyde Park but owns a dental practice at 67-11 75th St. in Middle Village, was charged with seven counts of grand larceny, three counts of petit larceny, 49 counts of insurance fraud, three counts of health care fraud and 49 counts of falsifying business records, Queens DA Richard Brown said. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison and the loss of his dental license, the DA said.

Brown said the defendant billed insurance companies for costly procedures, such as root planing or periodontal scaling, that were never performed. Among the companies allegedly swindled by the defendant were Aetna Health Insurance Company, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Delta Dental Insurance Company, he said.

In addition, Lewis' customers took part in dental plans that give an allowance for one year, the DA said. So when insurance companies did not pay out on the alleged fake treatments, the allowances would be eaten up and customers would be left without insurance for routine procedures, Brown said.

The dentist then allegedly billed patients for the balance when insurers did not cover the cost of an expensive treatment as a result of the scam, the DA said.

Many patients also alleged that they did not have appointments on dates billed to the insurance companies, Brown said. Other customers alleged that Lewis did not perform expensive procedures on them for which the insurers were charged, Brown said.

Lewis allegedly defrauded insurance companies and customers of a total $29,000 between May 2003 and May 2007, the DA said.

The state Department of Education's Professions Office will review Lewis' license, he said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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