A Knox County dentist has paid nearly $500,000 to settle government claims against him for improperly billing MaineCare for things like unnecessary tooth extractions and prescribing drugs without justification.

Rockport dentist Daniel Schecter, who had a patient die on Jan. 21, 2007, was already under extra scrutiny by the Maine Board of Dental Examiners in 2012 when a patient complained that Schecter prescribed excessive amounts of pain medication, according to court records.

Following the board’s examination of that patient’s files and those of 16 other patients, MaineCare arranged for an outside audit of Schecter’s practice for services he provided between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011.

The audit prompted both the federal and state departments of Health and Human Services to file suit against Schecter in U.S. District Court, accusing him of knowingly filing false or fraudulent claims, among other charges.

“In 50 out of 50 cases, the 2013 audit found ‘no medical necessity for the procedures performed’ and ‘no documentation of presenting symptoms, findings on examination, treatment plans, pre-treatment tooth charts, descriptions of treatments and plans for follow-up care,’ ” according to the complaint filed on Dec. 31, 2014.

In one of the cases, the audit found Schecter billed MaineCare for removing two teeth in 2011 that had already been removed from the patient in 2008, the complaint states.

The $484,744.80 that Schecter paid represents the total amount that he improperly billed, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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