Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

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February 21, 2014

Couple pleads guilty in dentist case

GLASGOW — A literally painful chapter in the lives of dozens of area residents who counted on About Face Dental and Denture Care for quality service may take another step toward closure next week.

The husband-and-wife duo of Michael Harold Richardson and Lana Richardson, who ran the business formerly at 103 Rogers Drive, have pleaded guilty in Barren Circuit Court to multiple criminal charges. Their final sentencing is set for 10 a.m. Monday.

Michael H. Richardson, 55, was charged with 32 counts of theft by deception, $500 or more but less than $10,000; 10 counts of theft by deception, under $500; and practicing dentistry without a license, first offense.

Lana Richardson, 52, was charged with 32 counts of complicity to theft by deception, $500 or more but less than $10,000; 10 counts of complicity to theft by deception, under $500; and a single count of complicity to practicing dentistry without a license, first offense.

The charges are related to incidents that occurred from October 2011 through July 2012.

In the meantime, the couple were recently arrested in Coffee County, Tenn., and they had a case under way from 2013 in Maury County, Tenn. Michael Richardson alone has a previous conviction in Simpson County.

The pair changed their pleas to guilty in Barren County in December after their attorney, Ken Garrett, and Commonwealth’s Attorney John Gardner negotiated an agreement that forced the Richardsons to pay back their patients, whose claims share a common theme of being provided a poor-quality product. A lump sum of $27,940 was required at the time from the Richardsons.

The agreement also includes a sentence of five years’ incarceration, but that would be reduced to probation as long as they abide by normal probation terms and the rest of the agreement, which requires them to pay back any other victims who come forward.

Although both sides have signed off on the agreement, it is ultimately up to Circuit Judge Phil Patton whether to accept the terms as presented when he imposes the final sentence.

“The plea agreement reached with the commonwealth takes into great consideration to commonwealth’s desire to make the alleged victims whole,” defense attorney Garrett said. “The plea agreement itself was certainly beneficial to both sides.”

He declined to comment further as the agreement is not official until the judge has ruled.

Gardner said 41 victims had identified at the time of indictment, and at least four more have come forward since the plea was entered.

Anyone claiming to be a victim has to produce proof of being negatively affected by the Richardsons’ business practices. If the judge imposes his sentence in accordance with the agreement, the couple will be on probation for three years. If paying the restitution takes longer than that, however, the probation will continue until restitution is paid in full, Gardner said.

He encourages possible victims to call the commonwealth’s attorney’s office and speak with either him or Micah Reece, the victim advocate. “The sooner the better,” Gardner said.

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