Authorities say a man illegally operated a dental practice in the basement of his Macomb County home and allegedly used his church in Rochester to get referrals.
The Macomb County prosecutor's office and Clinton Township police announced Friday Leka Gjokaj, 55, of Clinton Township was charged with health profession – unauthorized practice, a four-year felony.
Authorities say the man told them he was seeing one or two patients a day.
On Friday morning, the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office and Clinton Township police detailed the alleged crimes at a press conference. Shortly after, Gjokaj was arraigned at the 41-B District Court. It is believed Gjokaj, who is said to have attended dental school in Albania, came to the United States but that a work visa he obtained expired in 2015. The felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.
"A letter was sent to a dentist in Clinton Township and to us that guy was running dental practice out of his house," Capt. Richard Maierle of the Clinton Township Police Department said. "We confirmed that he had been receiving dental supplies and operating out of his home. Based on that we were able to get a warrant and discovered a full dental office in his basement."
Among the items found in the makeshift practice were a dentist chair, an X-ray machine and molds for teeth.
At some point, Maielre added Gjokaj had worked at a tool shop in Fraser. When he lost that job he turned to what he knew from his homeland.
"He worked for all cash money with no records. He said he was a dentist in Albania. We don't have any way to confirm that but he said he had been a practicing dentist since 1989," he said. "It doesn't matter because he didn't have a license to practice in the state of Michigan."
Federal Immigration officials placed a detainer hold on Leka if he should post bond on the Clinton Township charge. The 41-B District Court
In February 2018, another Albanian native was sentenced to prison time for a similar crime in Macomb County. Velimir Krgovic, who was 74 at the time, was arrested by the Utica Police Department on Nov. 18, 2016 on charges of false personation of a health professional after police were tipped off by a Commerce Township woman about an illegal practice he operated. The woman complained that she paid him $8,500 to perform dental work on her at his office at 45142 Cass Ave. in Utica. She said three root canals, three posts and removal of crowns performed between January 2015 and March 2016 were deficient and required nearly $59,000 in dental work to repair
Last February, Krgovic was sentenced to 20 months in Macomb County Circuit Court as a result of a plea agreement.
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