In Boca Raton, Palm Beach Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a 62 year-old man suspected of performing unlicensed dentistry on approximately 6,000 patients.
The unlicensed pracice of medicine for which a license is required is a third-degree felony in Florida.
Police discovered that the man had created a dentist’s office inside of his Boca Raton home’s laundry room. The man, a Brazilian national, performed dentistry for other Brazilians.
A Palm Beach Sheriff’s deputy went undercover, posing as a patient. The undercover deputy reportedly arrived at the home and was taken to the laundry room. The deputy found an examination chair, along with various dental instruments and devices, including an X-ray machine.
The deputy noted in the arrest report that proper protocols for safety and sterilization were not taken.
The man offered dental services to the undercover deputy for a cash payment. Police believe that this accused unlicensed dentist was treating only immigrants and receiving payments in cash to avoid taxes and detection.
The accused was arrested and charged with one third-degree felony count of practice of dentistry without a license. Bond was set at $3,000.
Practicing medicine without a license is a common crime in South Florida. This is due to the large numbers of immigrants. Many were educated, trained, and licensed in their home countries but have failed to receive the education and licensing required to practice their profession in the United States.
Relying on the fact that many undocumented immigrants lack financial resources and health insurance. As well, many undocumented immigrants fear detection and do not want to visit a conventional medical office for fear that they may be asked to produce identification.
These undocumented immigrants learn of the services of the unlicensed practitioner through family or friends and will go visit them and pay them in cash.
There are many unlicensed practitioners who have been trained in medicine and dentistry and can, in theory, provide adequate services. However, not having a license to practice in the State of Florida raises concerns that their practice methods, safety protocols, quality of equipment and hygiene, do not comport with our standards. Moreover, without a license, there is no oversight or regulation. This is why the unlicensed practice of medicine and dentistry is a felony offense.