TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma oral surgeon whose filthy clinics led to thousands of patients being tested for HIV and hepatitis faces a federal charge of money laundering, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The court filing alleges that W. Scott Harrington laundered money by fraudulently billing Medicaid and Medicare while he practiced dentistry in 2012.
Harrington’s two Tulsa-area clinics were shuttered in March 2013, when state health officials urged about 7,000 of his current and former patients to get tested for the diseases because of unsanitary conditions, which state health inspectors said included rusty instruments, potentially contaminated drug vials and improper use of a machine designed to sterilize tools.
Of 4,202 patients tested at state clinics, 89 had hepatitis C, five had hepatitis B and four had the virus that causes AIDS. In only one of those cases was it proven that the illness was contracted at one of Harrington’s clinics, health officials said.
Investigators later determined that Harrington was responsible for the nation’s first transmission of hepatitis C between patients in a dental office. He surrendered his professional license in 2014.
A message seeking comment from Harrington’s attorney in Oklahoma City was not immediately returned. Doug Horn, the First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, said Harrington’s formal arraignment has yet to be set.
Prosecutors allege in the court filing that Harrington deposited into his account more than $15,000 of Medicaid funds resulting from fraudulent billing for services he performed between January and June of 2012.
The document also alleges Harrington issued a $15,000 check from his account payable to W.S. Harrington LLC, which was another entity Harrington controlled for his personal benefit.
If convicted of money laundering, Harrington could face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or twice the amount of the criminally derived property, prosecutors said.