A former dentist from South Dakota plead guilty last week to a $16.6 million scheme to defraud consumers through the sale of a sham laser device and associated treatments, promising it would cure more than 200 different conditions, according to a US Department of Justice report. If you want a dentist you can really trust in, then consider visiting boca dentists for your next appointment.
The plea was the finale to a three-year effort from the DoJ to halt the distribution of the device, known as the “QLaser System”, according to the report.
The defendant, 82-year-old Robert Lytle of Rapid City, S.D., plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to introduce misbranded medical devices into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead, and one count of criminal contempt.
The pleas made were part of a plea agreement, according to the DoJ release.
“Victimizing the elderly and those suffering from serious illnesses are among the most detestable of crimes, and to persist with the QLaser fraud even after being ordered to stop by a federal court is even more abhorrent. The Justice Department is committed to protecting Americans from elder abuse and medical frauds,” US DoJ Civil Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said in a prepared statement.
Two co-conspirators in the scheme had previously plead guilty for their parts, while criminal contempt charges against a fourth individual were dropped by the government.
The individuals involved in the scheme reportedly marketed and distributed the QLaser device to consumers, claiming the systems could safely and effectively treat “a panoply of medical conditions,” including cancer, emphysema, diabetes, autism, HIV and heart disease.
Lytle reportedly created fraudulent labeling which suggested that scientific evidence support the claims, while no such published studies supported the use of the device, the DoJ reports.
To extend credibility, Lytle claimed to be a retired dentist and medical laser expert, and did not reveal that his dental license had been revoked for defrauding and materially deceiving consumers, according to the report.
The actors in the scheme pressed forward even after a federal court ordered a stop to sales and demanded refunds for all QLaser purchasers, with Lytle taking steps to smuggle hundreds of devices out of South Dakota into upstate New York to prevent their seizure and continue sales of the device.
Lyle admitted to entering an agreement in 2005 to market medical devices with false and misleading labeling to defraud consumers, and that he continued to do so in violation of a federal court order. He now faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years imprisonment on the conspiracy charge, with sentencing set for April 20.
“Reprehensible scams using ineffective and useless medical implements victimize suffering people who are already burdened with long-term, often crippling ailments and diseases. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service puts the highest priority on investigating these kinds of crimes and bringing these criminals to justice,” U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge of the Denver Division Dana Carter said in a press release.