THE owner of a dental clinic chain in the Costa Blanca and Murcia areas has been charged with fraud after ripping off customers who applied for dental work loans.
At least 46 victims were ‘double-billed’ for loans totalling around €100,000.
A 33-year-old Romanian man behind a San Pedro del Pinatar clinic has been arrested by the Guardia Civil along with two Spanish nationals.
Some patients were also told to pay fees directly to the Tax Agency to whom he owed over €100,000.
The Guardia launched Operation Ferula after a San Pedro resident complained he had been scammed by a local clinic.
He applied for a loan for some dental treatment and subsequently discovered he owed double the amount as a second loan for an identical sum had been taken out in his name.
He went to complain and was told that it was simply a ‘banking error’ which the clinic would rectify, but they didn’t, as he remained liable for two loans.
The Guardia probe discovered the San Pedro practice also operated clinics in Pilar de la Horadada and Murcia City, where the same scam was being practised.
In one case, they applied for a loan in the name of a dead client, with the son finding out later that he was being chased up for the money.
The scam also involved a third party getting the names and personal details of people who never visited the clinics in order to obtain loans.
The Murcia College of Dentists say they’ve received around 40 complaints about the quality of the clinics with sub-standard materials being used, forcing patients to pay again at other dentists to get the work brought up to scratch.