Columbia police arrest couple for impersonating dentists
COLUMBIA, Tenn. -
A woman showed up to a dental appointment on Thursday to discover she was the victim of a crime.
Helen Kelley went to her appointment at Amazing Smiles Dental and Denture Care located at 1802 Carmack Boulevard in Columbia and found crime scene tape across the front door.
Columbia Police Lt. Joey Gideon told Nashville's News 2 they served a search warrant at the office on Wednesday and learned that Michael and Lana Richardson were practicing dentistry without a license.
"We began to investigate Michael and Lana Richardson and discovered that they are not dentists and then our investigation revealed from some of the customers that Michael Richardson was in fact posing as the dentist," Gideon explained.
Also during their investigation Gideon said they learned the Richardsons were wanted by police in Glasgow, Kentucky after they conducted a similar investigation last summer.
"This is the type of thing that can harm a lot of people. A lot of people have saved up for years to get this type of work done," Gideon said.
Police said their investigation revealed a majority of the Richardson's patients paid with cash.
"They are preying on those people. They are taking their money and performing really shoddy dentistry work," Gideon continued.
Kelley said she used her income tax refund and thought she was getting a good deal when she pre-paid nearly $1,600 for a pair of dentures that do not fit properly.
"I had a whole set put in and they're too big and the back hits before the front hits and I can't chew. I am just in a bad mess," she told News 2, adding, "The lady told me they were licensed and everything."
Michael Richardson is charged with impersonating a medical professional and unlawful practice of dentistry. Lana Richardson is also charged with impersonating a medical professional.
Police said they will most likely file additional charges against the couple as their investigation continues.
Michael Richardson also has a criminal hold on him from Warren County for violation of probation.
According to police he violated his probation after a 1994 conviction for impersonation of a licensed professional and unlawful practice of dentistry.
Columbia police say Kelley is just one of many people victimized by Michael and Lana Richardson.
Other victims are encouraged to call the Columbia Police Criminal Investigations Division at 931-380-2721.