HARRISBURG– Attorney General Michelle Henry announced a lawsuit against a Bucks County-based dental group for misleading patients — many of them seniors — into obtaining loans for procedures, and then failing to provide patients with notice of their rights.
The lawsuit is filed against Infinity Dental Management, LLC — which also does business under the name Alpha Dental Excellence — its owner/operator Arpan Patel, DMD, and employee Cheryl Snyder.
According to the suit, the defendants misled patients into believing Medicare, or private insurance, would cover dental services — when, in fact, those services were not covered. The defendants also failed to notify patients of consumer rights and protections while charging fees for third-party loans.
The alleged practices are in violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The lawsuit seeks to ban Alpha and affiliates from offering dental and credit services in Pennsylvania, as well as payment of consumer restitution and civil penalties.
“This business lured older Pennsylvanians into their office with free dinner events, lied to them about whether their insurance would cover their care, and then enticed them to take out loans without notifying them of the specific terms and conditions,” Attorney General Henry said. “Patients who needed care suddenly found themselves saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt they could not afford. This lawsuit seeks to recover hundreds of thousands in ill-gotten gains as well as impose civil penalties to the full extent of the law. We are also asking anyone else who fell victim to this scheme to contact our office.”
Consumers who believe they or someone they know may have been a victim of Alpha Dental can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Healthcare Section at www.attorneygeneral.gov, call 1-877-888-4877, or email he********@at*************.gov.
During the investigation, the Office of Attorney General coordinated with the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Prosecution Division, which prosecutes cases before the state’s licensure boards, including the State Board of Dentistry. On August 31, 2023, the Department filed administrative charges against Patel that cite cases where patients were misled about Medicare covering their dental services at Alpha Dental and where records were not provided after a patient requested them.
The administrative case could result in the suspension, revocation, or restriction of Patel’s professional license to practice dentistry, as well as the imposition of civil penalties.
“The Department of State’s Prosecution Division plays an important role in protecting Pennsylvanians from fraudulent and unethical practices,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said. “The Department of State began investigating this licensee because of several complaints of unprofessional conduct, and I am proud of the joint efforts of the Department of State and the Attorney General’s Office.”
From January 2015 through August 2022, Alpha assisted patients in applying for approximately 5,329 loans, totaling at least $10,195,487 (the total number is unknown). Some patients had loan applications submitted on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. Others tried to cancel their loans immediately and were assessed exorbitant cancellation fees charged by Alpha Dental.
Alpha also charged fees upfront attached to the loans — and failed to notify patients of their rights under the Credit Services Act. Alpha collected over $500,000 in those fees while violating the Credit Services Act, according to the lawsuit.
Additionally, Alpha misrepresented the price of their services. One patient paid $15,000 for dentures, and upon picking up the dentures, the patient was told he needed to pay an additional $4,176 to receive the dentures.
The lawsuit asks that the Court determine the full restitution amount for all consumers impacted by Alpha Dental, and a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law — up to $3,000 for each violation where the victim was 60 years old or older.
This lawsuit was filed by Deputy Attorney General Tyler Ritchie and Chief Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Hale.