Office of the Attorney General
Former Eastern Kentucky Dentist Pleads Guilty to Medicaid Fraud & Drug Trafficking
Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control today announced that a plea agreement was reached in the case of 47-year-old Craig Ralston, a former dentist in Eastern Kentucky. Ralston, formerly of Bell County, Ky., was indicted in December 2007 on charges that he defrauded the Kentucky Medicaid Program and three counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, Hydrocodone. Ralston pled guilty to all counts in Bell Circuit Court on Monday, November 16.
"I appreciate the hard work of our investigators and prosecutors on this case," General Conway said. "Thanks to our efforts, a dentist who was overbilling taxpayers and overprescribing pain medication is out of business."
Under the terms of the plea agreement, The Commonwealth has recommended the maximum five-year sentence on each count, with each count to run concurrent. The Commonwealth has asked that Ralston be ordered to pay $4,900 in restitution to the Kentucky Medicaid Program and $3,000 in investigative costs to the Office of the Attorney General.
From March 1988 until September 2004, Ralston billed the Kentucky Medical Assistance Program (KMAP) for dental extractions, which were either not performed or were medically inappropriate. During this time, Ralston supplied drug-seeking clients with Hydrocodone, while billing for extractions of healthy teeth. Following action by Kentucky’s Board of Dentistry, Ralston surrendered his license to practice dentistry in 2004.
General Conway’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Division handled both the investigation and prosecution of this case after it was referred from the Office of the Inspector General. Ralston was first tried on these charges in February 2009; however, a judge declared a mistrial after Ralston addressed jurors during a court recess. He was held in contempt following the mistrial.
Sentencing is set for January 4, 2010 in Bell Circuit Court.