6 central Indiana dental employees reach plea deals

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Prosecutors have struck plea agreements with six former employees of a central Indiana dental clinic in connection with a Medicaid fraud investigation.

Dentist Paul Pangallo of the Anderson Dental Clinic has pleaded guilty to corrupt business influence and Medicaid fraud in return for three other counts against him being dismissed, The Herald Bulletin reported Tuesday. Pangallo faces a March 30 sentencing hearing.

Another dentist at the clinic, Thomas Dubois, has agreed to repay nearly $42,000 to Medicaid for procedures he was accused of not performing, and a third dentist, Jeffrey Rich, has agreed to repay $20,000, said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the Indiana Attorney General's Office. All criminal charges against Dubois and Rich have been dropped.

Clinic employee Jessica Worrell has been sentenced to two years on probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of conversions. Two other clinic employees also have accepted plea agreements, the newspaper reported.

The trial of the six had been scheduled to begin Tuesday.

The former owner of clinic, Sally Metzner, pleaded guilty last month to corrupt business influence, Medicaid fraud, two counts of forgery and practicing dentistry without a license. Her lawyer, Dan Whitehead, said she was sentenced to eight years, four in prison and four on probation.

The start of Metzner's sentence will be delayed because she's serving a two-year term in a federal prison in Kentucky after pleading guilty last April to tax evasion and failure to pay withholding and Social Security taxes.

Prosecutors have said Metzner and her employees engaged in a scheme to submit false and inflated claims for payment of dental services to the Indiana Medicaid program, sometimes using forged documents, to receive more than $300,000 in ineligible Medicaid payments. The scheme began in 2006.

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