Coakley settles with two from dental investigation

Keith Loria Sep. 9, 2009, 4:30pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley settled two cases on Tuesday that will see two parties involved in the dental industry pay $92,500 to resolve allegations of participation in alleged deceptive sales practices and a credit billing scheme.

The separate settlements were reached with Dr. Mohamed Jawad Shakarchi, a dentist who practiced at Weymouth-based Sierra Dental from 2005 to late 2006, and Robert V. Whelan, the general manager at Sierra Dental from 2005 to early 2007.

The Democrat alleged that Shakarchi worked in concert with business managers at Sierra Dental to arrange and promote financing for dental treatment plans on unfair and deceptive terms and alleged that Whelan perpetuated deceptive marketing and sales protocols to ensure that patient volume and cash from credit arrangements remained high at the dental practice.

Under the terms of the settlements, Shakarchi must pay $7,500 in civil penalties to the State and $20,000 in restitution to former patients of Sierra Dental and two related Fall River-based dental clinics, Spectrum Dental and Coast Dental.

Whelan must pay $40,000 in restitution to former patients and $25,000 in civil penalties to the State.

The consent judgments also prohibit Shakarchi and Whelan from engaging in unfair and deceptive credit, billing and sales practices in the future.

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