Dentist charged with fraud after 18 root canals on single patient

A Saratoga dentist who allegedly collected insurance for unneeded procedures performed on more than two dozen patients was arraigned in San Jose Monday.

John Roger Lund, 66, was charged with 28 counts of felony insurance fraud for allegedly carrying out the procedures, some of which were done on people who had healthy gums and teeth, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Lund appeared out of custody with his attorney at the Hall of Justice in San Jose this afternoon. He didn’t enter a plea and was scheduled to return to court on Aug. 8.

The 66-year-old, whose dentist license has been suspended, was arrested on May 5 and was booked into Santa Clara County Jail but posted $250,000 bail, Deputy District Attorney David Soares said after today’s hearing.

Soares said he had three bankers boxes worth of evidence in the case and was still calculating losses estimated at possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars:

“There are additional potential victims outside of the 28 (victims) who chose not to come forward.”

About 10 patients, some of whom are victims in the criminal case, have filed civil lawsuits against Lund that are pending in court, according to Soares.

The investigation began in 2012 when another dentist who bought Lund’s practice checked his records, which revealed unneeded operations such as root canals and crowns, prosecutors said.

The dentist who acquired Lund’s practice later sued him and received a “substantial” settlement, Soares said.

Lund allegedly issued fines for patients and insurance companies for the procedures that were either nonessential or never took place, according to the district attorney’s office.

One patient underwent 18 root canals over the course of five years, but the average person needs to undergo the treatment only once or twice in their life, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Lund faces eight years in prison.

Lund obtained his dentist license in 1976 and it is currently inactive, according to online state consumer affairs records.

Victims of unnecessary procedures tend to feel afraid or embarrassed, but Soares encouraged them to come forward:

“If it looks wrong, it is wrong and we are interested in these cases. We do prosecute them.”

Not every report will lead to criminal charges, but various boards for medical, dental, acupuncture and other professions can impose sanctions on licenses, according to Soares.