Dentist’s license suspended over dozens of fraud charges

SAN DIEGO — A judge Tuesday suspended the license of a Mira Mesa dentist charged with 75 felony insurance fraud counts for allegedly bilking insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting claims for procedures she never performed, including more than 600 root canals.

April Rose Ambrosio, 58, is accused of collecting more than $300,000 for procedures that never occurred and defrauding eight insurance companies in the alleged billing scheme, which took place over the course of three years, according to the Department of Insurance and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors allege Ambrosio, who was charged in June, submitted insurance claims for as many as 28 root canals on a single patient, and also submitted claims indicating she had performed more than 100 root canals over a three-month period for a family of four.

She faces 83 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

Deputy Attorney General Tory Polin said the Attorney General’s office will likely pursue revocation of Ambrosio’s license at a later date, but did not want to interfere with the ongoing criminal case, thus seeking only the temporary suspension until its conclusion.

Ambrosio’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, argued a suspension would prevent his client from her only source of income. He said in court that Ambrosio has lost patients since the charges became public knowledge, but has maintained around 50 regular patients.

Armstrong argued that Ambrosio should be allowed to practice, as none of the allegations reflect the quality of her dentistry work. He argued that another person could be hired to maintain her billing in the interim.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Polly H. Shamoon suspended the license through the conclusion of the criminal case out of concern that Ambrosio would be practicing the very work that led to the current charges.

Ambrosio remains out of custody on her own recognizance and is due back in court Oct. 21 for a readiness conference.

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