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Dentist sentenced; must pay $3 million
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Ceres dentist Kyon Maung Teo and his wife of Hatch Dental offices will spend a year in jail for defrauding the Medi-Cal system of $4.5 million. The couple was also ordered to pay back $3 million to cover restitution.

Four years ago the California attorney general's office accused Kyon Teo, 46, and Kin Thor Pang, 37, of defrauding the state. The office detailed how the couple and their employees would perform unnecessary and shoddy, quick work to collect more Medi-Cal payments from the state. The case started when a patient complained to Ceres Police that she was given 22 fillings on April 29, 2002 after going in for a simple teeth cleaning.

Prosecutors with the attorney general's office filed a 44-count complaint in September 2004 showing that through 104 acts Teo and dentists working at his Ceres, Modesto and Stockton offices were conspiring to do work on healthy teeth between November 9, 1999 and Dec. 31, 2003. The allegations also focussed on fabricated billings. Prosecutors said that the Hatch clinic trained staff members to fabricate peridontal charts and prepare Treatment Authorization Requests to obtain Medi-Cal reimbursement for services based on the fabricated charts. Claims were also submitted for visits that never occurred. The case was built by materials - including 300 patient files and their x-rays - seized from the three offices.

A total of 21 persons were implicated in the conspiracy. A total of 10 dentists working for Teo entered no contest pleas to reduced charges.

The couple was involved in a lengthy preliminary trial that ended when their attorney crafted a deal that called for the repayment of $3 million to cover costs of the state investigation and to help former patients pay for any corrective dental work. Another prong of the deal calls for Teo to cooperate with authorities in prosecuting the other dentists in the scheme.

The dentist plans to pay the $3 million through the sale of properties in San Mateo County and two homes in San Francisco.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Steffen told the couple last week that he was not pleased that the funds have not been turned over to the court. He extended the due date to Oct. 24. The delay in payment, said defense attorneys, was due to the slow real estate market.

The couple was ordered to show up for their sentence on Dec. 15. They may be allowed to serve in a home detention program through the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department due to the fact that Pang is expecting a child this fall.

Teo must also serve three years' probation. The jail sentence could be expanded to five years in prison if he gets in trouble while serving probation, said Steffen.

The Dental Board of California is commencing proceedings on whether or not to revoke Teo's license.