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GARY LIESNER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/05/86)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 5, 1986.

GARY LIESNER, D.D.S., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE DENTAL COUNCIL AND EXAMINING BOARD, RESPONDENT

Appeal from the Order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board in case of In The Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License to Practice Dentistry, No. DS-10857-L, issued to Gary Liesner, D.D.S., dated October 26, 1984.

COUNSEL

Michael B. Tolcott, with him, Gilbert B. Abramson, Philip L. Blackman and Sharon M. Friel, Abramson, Cogan, Kogan, Freedman & Blackman, P.C., for petitioner.

Gwendolyn T. Mosley, Deputy Attorney General, with her, Allen C. Warshaw, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Chief, Litigation Section, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Craig, Barry, and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 436]

This is an appeal by Gary Liesner (Petitioner) from an order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board (Board) which suspended Petitioner's license to practice dentistry for a period of six months. We affirm.

On November 15, 1982, Petitioner pled nolo contendere to twenty-four counts of violating Sections 3(a)(12) and 3(c)(2) of the Fraud and Abuse Control Law.*fn1 Thereafter, on June 6, 1983, the Board served Petitioner with a Citation and Notice of Hearing which charged Petitioner with having violated Section 3 of The Dental Law*fn2 by reason of being guilty

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 437]

    of a crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, engaging in fraudulent or unlawful practices, and by engaging in unprofessional conduct. After a full hearing, the Board, by order dated October 26, 1984, found that Petitioner had committed the violations of The Dental Law with which he had been charged and suspended his license to practice dentistry for six months. It is from this order that Petitioner appeals.

Petitioner's primary argument is that the Board erred as a matter of law in concluding that Petitioner was guilty of a crime of moral turpitude. It is Petitioner's contention that violations of Section 1407(a)(12) and (c)(2) of the Fraud and Abuse Control Law are not crimes of moral turpitude. We disagree.

As a general rule, all crimes of which fraud is an element are looked upon as involving moral turpitude. . . . '[M]oral turpitude' has also been frequently defined as 'anything done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals.'

Moretti v. State Board of Pharmacy, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 121, 125-26, 277 A.2d 516, 518 (1971) (citations omitted) (emphasis in the original).

The facts of this case, as found by the Board and supported by substantial evidence in the record,*fn3 indicate

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 438]

    that Petitioner, after being terminated from participation in the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance Program, engaged in a deliberate and illegal course of conduct to enable him to continue receiving the benefits of the Medical Assistance Program to which he was not entitled. Specifically, the Board found that Petitioner hired other dentists to perform dental work on Petitioner's Medical Assistance patients, for which Petitioner would share in the reimbursement from the Department of Public Welfare. Additionally, Petitioner would himself perform dental work on Medical Assistance patients and then submit reimbursement vouchers in the name of another dentist. These practices are fraudulent, illegal, unprofessional and involve moral turpitude.

Accordingly, the order of the Board is affirmed.*fn4

Order

And Now, March 5, 1986, the order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board, No. 81-DE-565, dated October 26, 1984, is affirmed.

Per Curiam Order

And Now, May 1, 1986, the Application of Gary Liesner, D.D.S., for Stay and/or Supersedeas is denied.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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