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Virginia dentist convicted of health care fraud, other charges

A Virginia dentist faces a stiff prison sentence after his conviction on a variety of felony charges, including distribution of controlled substances.

In federal court, the dentist, 51, was found guilty of five counts involving controlled substances, and also of health care fraud, conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

The dentist owns a practice in Oakton, Virginia. Since 2007, the man allegedly gave prescription medicine like Vicodin and Fentanyl to employees, patients and at least one girlfriend, according to evidence presented at the trial and court documents. He dispensed the medication without a medical reason, according to prosecutors. The documents alleged that the doctor handed out the prescription medication to patients at social gatherings.

Additionally, the jury convicted the dentist of crimes related to the billing practices in his office. The dentist was found guilty of providing more than $160,000 in dental services to his family and charging insurance for it. His insurance contract prevented him from billing the insurance under his name, so he entered the claims under another dentist's name. By doing so, the Virginia dentist received more than $90,000 that he shouldn't have, according to court records.

At sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 15, 2013, the dentist could receive a penalty of up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy and each of the five charges of dispensing a controlled substance. Additionally, the maximum sentence for the health care fraud charge is 10 years, with another two years for his conviction on the aggravated identity theft charge.

It is not known if the dentist himself has a problem with prescription drugs or if he consumed them in the social settings in which he allegedly distributed them. If so, the dentist certainly could benefit from drug rehabilitation in lieu of several years of a prison sentence.

Source: WUSA9, "Dentist Hamada Markarita Of Oakton, Va. Convicted Of Illegally Distributing Narcotics, Identity Theft And Health Care Fraud," Nov. 19, 2012

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