LAWRENCE, Mass. — An unlicensed dentist who treated as many as 30 patients a day was shut down this week after local and federal detectives stumbled upon her illegal “makeshift dental office” during a drug investigation.
Patients sat in lawn chairs set up in a waiting room prior to their appointments, according to a police report.
Criminal charges are now being sought against Maira Josefina Villanueva, 43, who claimed to be a doctor in her native country, the Dominican Republic. She told police she recently opened the office. because she has “an infant child and needs money,” according to a report by Officer William Olivieri.
Villanueva said “she works on people with minor toothaches, fixing cavities, tightening braces, changing crowns and so forth,” Olivieri wrote. She said she did not pull teeth “due to not being outfitted for such things,” according to his report.
She said she became a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic in 1997 and worked for the government there for several years. She came to the United States in 2001 but never obtained proper dental licensing here afterwards.
Police were not able to substantiate that Villanueva was a doctor in the Dominican Republic, Police Chief John Romero said.
Inside, police found a dental chair “you would see in any dental office,” Olivieri wrote. Cabinets contained medical supplies and there was a bench area with dental tools.
She was issued a summons for a public health crime, posing as a dentist, which is punishable by six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
Detaiils for this stor were provided by The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.