By numerous accounts, the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry has allegedly operated like a crime syndicate for at least two decades and is responsible for the possible harassment, extortion, money laundering, and fraud of its agents. These allegations have been made for years but may now be proven. State and federal criminal charges are expected in the upcoming months. At least one legal expert expects federal racketeering laws to be used to prosecute former board agents, and possibly even current or former board members and staff. A paralleling class-action civil suit may not be too far behind.
The board investigator was employed by the LSBD for over two decades until his contract was recently terminated. He roamed the state, under color of law, harassing dentists and beating the bushes to generate revenue. Not surprisingly, he had state contracts that allowed him to self-generate his own fees. He seemed to be aided by the board general counsel, who often served in dual capacity as board counsel and board prosecutor, a violation of legal ethics rules and common sense. Because he only had a duty to his client the board of dentistry to act in its best interest, anyone that he prosecuted was denied due process. The same would be true if a police force handled its own prosecutions without an independent prosecutor; there would be no fundamental perception of fairness. He has also been known to hide behind the cloak of administrative law in denying defendants’ rights afforded under the US Constitution. He self-generated his own fees, and had apparently selfish financial motives for seeing dentists prosecuted. In 2012, he was found by the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to have violated the due process of a Louisiana dentist. This investigator and attorney were perhaps given cover by a few complicit board members and staff to carry out their harassment and extortion schemes.
The investigator has employed unlicensed investigators for years in what many have deemed elaborate entrapment schemes. His undercover operations sent in phony patients to dental offices, often complaining about fake symptoms and giving false medical histories. This was done for the purpose of collecting information to be used against dentists being investigated by the board for prosecution. At least one woman used in this capacity has even perjured herself under oath. The same unlicensed investigator that initially claimed under oath to have worked 6-7 investigations and even bragged about working in a dental office that was being investigated. Although she seems to have developed amnesia and has recanted previous testimony, she now claims she has only worked one or two investigations and applied-for but never actually worked in an office undercover. However, a Kenner dentist has issued a sworn affidavit saying that she indeed held employment in HIS office during the time the board was investigating complaints against him. Conducting investigations without a license is a violation of Louisiana law and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. The dental board has been no help in getting to the truth. An unnamed state official recently stated “The board of dentistry has circled the wagons and is being uncooperative with our investigation.”
It is believed that the investigator has been utilizing these undercover investigators for decades, but he denies that claim. He has testified that the first time he did this was in 2007, although there are numerous contradictions to this testimony. One dentist claims he sent in an undercover operative into his office in 2006. When it was realized that He had broken the law in his investigation, the Louisiana Attorney General’s office stepped in to stop the investigation and future prosecution. The current board president acknowledged in a hearing that these undercover ops have been used for years by the dental board in their investigations. One former board member, that held his board position for almost 30 years, testified that the board has been doing this since “before I was born.” Based on his appearance, one might estimate that to be around the turn of the last century.
The investigator is currently under investigation by the PI board for utilizing unlicensed investigators. The Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners opened an investigation into his illegal activity and the scope exploded because of major criminal implications. The LSBPIE pulled in other state and federal agencies once it realized that he perjured himself, filed fraudulent reports with the board, created false scenarios that were used to prosecute dentists, and even submitted multiple fraudulent billing records to the state of Louisiana. These tactics have also gotten the investigator and two of his unlicensed investigators into trouble in a civil lawsuit. Not surprisingly, the board of dentistry purportedly misled the legislature into changing the law to cover the legal expenses of both the investigator and the unlicensed investigators being sued for entrapment. By one former board member’s account, the board of dentistry has spent over $500K defending the investigator, who was a state contractor, and two unlicensed investigators he hired as his “independent contractors”; this despite the fact that his contract held a specific clause requiring him to carry an insurance policy that indemnifies the state against such lawsuits. All three defendants claim to be utilizing insurance coverage earmarked specifically for Louisiana civil service employees, The legal defense of these defendants, although they have clearly broken the law, is being funded by the tax dollars of Louisiana citizens.
The attorney also finds himself in hot water with the Louisiana Bar and recently had his contract with the board terminated. He had a complaint turned into the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Committee for violating a dentist’s due process. This fact can’t be denied after a decision by a Louisiana appeals court in Haygood v. LSBD. In the aforementioned case, the board general counsel acted in the role of “independent counselor,” a role that requires neutrality and separation from the board. This independence isn’t possible since he was the board’s general counsel. He used his position to antagonize, harass, and control the board hearing to ensure a favorable verdict for the board of dentistry. Such tactics are the very reason that the LSBD has NEVER lost a board hearing. In his response to the bar complaint, he noted that he simply served in the capacity of independent counsel, and that he took NO part in the investigation or the deliberations. However, according to his own billing records, eye-witness testimony, and emails, both responses are demonstrably false. He was actively involved in the investigation from the onset, and even recommended fines and penalties that were harsher than what the disciplinary panel wanted to levy during deliberations. He is awaiting a hearing by the Bar, and one legal analyst predicts he may be disbarred or not allowed to practice administrative law for an extending period of time.
The next few months will prove crucial as investigations continue and indictments are issued. One dentist predicts the investigator will be the first to fall, but will not go down alone. He appears extremely bitter about his recent departure from the board and the way he was let go after two decades of service. According to a former board member, a long-time board employee recently left the board because of the egregious acts committed by the board over the last several years. These acts are believed to have been documented and turned over to state authorities in their criminal investigation. This allegedly includes information about a board employee that destroyed evidence in the case of a medical doctor that was harassed by dental board agents. This same employee has testified to working an undercover op, posing as a patient in a Lafayette dental office under investigation. Finally, it is believed this employee may have committed payroll fraud, as it is believed she was clocked in at the board of dentistry while she was attending college classes and finishing up her degree. The truth of these apparent criminal acts, stands in stark contrast to board president’s story that former board employee left because of the impending move of the board office to Baton Rouge that will occur in 2017.
Louisiana dentists that believe they have been unfairly targeted or prosecuted are beginning to ban together to file a joint civil action against the board and these agents.
The Power Broker
Barry Ogden ruled the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry with an iron fist for over two decades, armed with a complicit general counsel and a rogue investigator. The three men were nicknamed the “un-holy trinity” by those observers that followed their trail of tears. In the 2014 legislative session, state senator Martini introduced and passed legislation, with the goal of curbing these abuses.
Ogden has recently testified to the abuses of power, lack of transparency, and due process violations that took place under his watch. Anyone committed to justice and fairness should be alarmed. Anyone fined or punished under these men should take notice. According to Ogden, your constitutional rights were probably violated, although he doesn’t actually come out and say it. Nevertheless, it’s hard for him to hide the big, giant pink elephant in the room. But he thinks you are probably “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”
Ogden, known for his fashionable footwear, kicks caution to the wind and plays fast and furious with laws he doesn’t seem to understand, he misinterprets, or chooses to ignore out of convenience. Ogden discusses:
- How he ignored the internal rules the board set up to help avoid violating someone’s due process.
- How the disciplinary oversight committee operates from a set of secretive, evolving rules.
- How investigations require no due process, and “whatever happens, happens.”
- How the board has no need for burden of proof through informal or Bertucci hearings (which are a waste of time in his opinion)
- How a burden of proof is only required in formal hearing, which the board NEVER loses
- How the board has a system of informal hearings, where 3 dentists vote and Ogden and the president may choose to override when they are sure they have gotten it wrong or don’t understand the issue.
- How Camp Morrison has utilized unlicensed investigators for years, a violation of state law, and considered an entrapment scheme by many.
- How Morrison’s job is to “do justice” and “there is no need for truthfulness in an investigation.”
These are just a few of the hits. Ogden continuously serves and volleys with the truth like he has played in more than his fair share of ping pong matches. But that’s a story for another day. He reveals some interesting facts about a certain board member that had dementia, the rifts between the LSBD and the LDA, and the fact that the LSBD should have no deference over fee disputes. Ogden claims, “We only got complaints on advertising from other dentists who was just siccing a dog on a competitor.”
If you or anyone you know believe they have been the recipient of these malicious schemes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.