Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Florida Dentist Accused of Abusing Children in Medicaid Fraud Scheme

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Oct 06, 2016 | 0 Comments

Most children hate going to the dentist. However, for most children, it is necessary for their dental health. Dentists should evaluate a child's teeth and gums to ensure that can keep a healthy set of teeth into their adulthood. However, a doctor in Florida has been accused of physically abusing children by performing unnecessary procedures in a scheme to bill Medicaid for millions of dollars.

Florida dentist Howard Schneider has been accused of running a “house of horrors” at his dental clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. The pediatric dentist was accused of performing painful, and unnecessary dental procedures on children, often low-income children on Medicaid. It all began when one mother posted disturbing images of her daughter's injuries on facebook, calling for Schneider's office to be closed.

Brandi Motley took her six-year-old daughter to an appointment with Dr. Schneider to have a tooth removed. She sat in the waiting room for almost three hours, and when her daughter came out, she had bruises on her neck and face, and blood all over her. Her mother took out to gauze to find that Dr. Schneider had removed 7 teeth, without informing her mother.

Between 2010 and 2014, Schneider received almost $4 million in Medicaid reimbursements. He was eventually arrested and charged with 11 counts of Medicaid provider fraud, and one count of scheming with intent to defraud. In addition to the criminal charges, Schneider has faced lawsuits from more than 100 families whose children were injured during unnecessary dental procedures. However, Schneider's lawyers later claimed that he should be declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

After Motley took her complaints to social media, other parents recognized the doctor's name and told their horror stories of how their children were injured with unnecessary dental procedures. Parents of a three-year-old reported how their child was screaming in pain as Schneider was grinding down 16 of his teeth to fit them with metal crowns, with no explanation as to why the child was subjected to such an extreme procedure.

Allegations against Schneider include choking children to unconsciousness rather than use anesthesia, performing non-medically necessary tooth extractions, using threats to prevent children from telling their parents what happened, and threatening to make reports to child welfare authorities if parents questioned him.

Eventually, after Schneider's attorneys failed to have medical malpractice and Medicaid fraud charges dropped, the filed a motion to have him declared incompetent to stand trial. At least three doctors evaluated Schneider to determine whether he was competent and suffering dimensional. According to his attorneys, he suffers from “severe mental deficits and lack of memory.” If found guilty of Medicaid fraud, he could face up to 19 years in prison.

If you or a loved one was injured by a dental procedure, you may have a claim against your dental office for the damages suffered. A medical malpractice claim may allow you to recover monetary damages for your medical bills, pain, and suffering. At Gilman & Bedigian we have been fighting for medical malpractice victims for decades, with a focus on getting you the compensation you deserve, so you can get better and move forward with your life.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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