Statement as distributed Friday by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office:
INDIANAPOLIS – Allcare Dental & Dentures President Robert Bates agreed to surrender his Indiana dental license today after abruptly closing six of his Indiana business locations in early 2011.
The Indiana State Board of Dentistry accepted the agreement reached between Bates and the Attorney General’s office which requires him to surrender his dental license and removes his ability to reapply for a license. Last year, Zoeller’s office filed an administrative complaint against Bates for closing his businesses and abandoning hundreds of patients.
“The abrupt closure of these businesses left patients without the promised services, dental devices or refunds,” Zoeller said. “Today’s licensing action is welcomed as we turn to the patients and make every effort to make them whole again.”
Allcare Dental & Dentures, a former national chain, closed its offices in Avon, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Mishawaka and Muncie. According to the licensing complaint, Bates’ violations included failure to reimburse patients who paid upfront for services that were not completed, not completing dental procedures in progress and failure to provide dentures that were already fabricated.
In July, Zoeller’s Consumer Protection Division received a consent judgment against Bates and Allcare which called for more than $1.3 million in total restitution to be paid to 443 consumers who filed complaints. Zoeller said that although Allcare’s prior bankruptcy petition was granted, the Attorney General’s office will use its Consumer Protection Assistance Fund (CPAF) to pay a portion of the restitution still owed to consumers.
The CPAF allows the Attorney General’s office to use funds recovered from judgments against companies that violated consumer protection laws to reimburse consumers in cases where restitution cannot be collected.
Consumers included in the consent judgment are eligible to receive reimbursement and should have received a copy of the claim form. Zoeller said the office will begin paying a portion of the restitution to consumers once the Aug. 26 claim form deadline has passed. The amounts to be paid to each eligible consumer will be determined upon receipt of all claim forms.
For a copy of the consent judgment click here or if consumers have questions about the claim form they can call 1.800.382.5516.
Bates has also faced licensing actions for similar violations in Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.