He promised a “star smile” : Lionel Guedj, 41, will be tried on Monday February 28 with Carnot Guedj, 70, also a dentist, as well as their two companies as legal persons, for “willful violence resulting in mutilation or permanent infirmity” and “fraud” .
The two men, also prosecuted for “use” and “complicity” of “forgery in private writing” incur ten years of imprisonment and 375,000 euros in fine; a sum that could rise to nearly two million euros for their companies, not to mention the compensation of the many victims.
Abscess, pain, repeated infections, black mouth, bad breath, prostheses that do not hold: ten years after the incriminated facts – from 2009 to 2012 -, many former patients still suffer from problems, testifies Marc-André Ceccaldi, lawyer of several plaintiffs. “Eighty-five percent of the victims are modest people, often beneficiaries of complementary universal health cover: Lionel Guedj promised them a star smile, today we talk about “Guedj smile”, to evoke damaged teeth »he said.
“My client will endeavor to demonstrate that, while there was undoubtedly negligence or imprudence, he never had the will to harm”explains Lionel Guedj’s lawyer, Frédéric Monneret, who specifies that his client is “Glad to finally be able to explain”most “stressed by the stakes of the trial”.
A total of 322 former patients filed civil suits, alongside the Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM) of Bouches-du-Rhône, five mutuals and the National and Departmental Council of the Order of Dental Surgeons. . This extraordinary trial will be held until April 8 in a 400-seat room specially fitted out in a former barracks.
Falsified x-rays and botched operations
The case began in 2009 with an investigation by the medical control of the CPAM of Bouches-du-Rhône following reports from an insurance company on dubious billings for prostheses, and by social security “abuse of care”.
A complaint from the CPAM 13, claiming damage of nearly 1.7 million euros, was filed in 2011. A judicial investigation was opened in 2012. Charged, the two men were released under judicial supervision. They have since been banned from practicing by the Order of Dentists.
The conclusions of the administrative investigation, supported by several expert reports and the hearing of 170 patients, describe an organized system aimed at carrying out “a maximum of dental prostheses benefiting from freedom of tariffs”. According to several witnesses, “the father-son tandem was clearly led by Lionel Guedj”.
“The first consultation systematically ended in a massive program of work involving devitalizing and crowning as many teeth as possible”notes the report, which mentions “strong presumptions of voluntary damage to healthy teeth”. “You came for two cavities and you left with all your teeth devitalized”testified during the investigation the dental assistant, Nadia Omar.
Turnover of 2.6 million euros
Lionel Guedj billed 28 times more crowns than the average of his colleagues, counted a dental consultant from Medicare. In 2010, he was the leading dentist in France with a turnover of 2.6 million euros, against a departmental average of 180,000 euros. In a few years, the man built up a real estate portfolio of 9.5 million euros, owned luxury cars, a 15-meter yacht…
Before the investigators, Lionel Guedj justified his success by long working hours and exceptional speed. But for Social Security, such results in a normal activity would have required no less than 52 hours of work per day.
Doctor Guedj would have cut back on the quality of care, realizing, for example, “the installation of permanent dental prostheses, without any fitting”, while this act requires no less than five different steps. Justice also accuses dentists of the disappearance or falsification of x-rays, in an attempt to conceal false diagnoses.