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Lawrenceville man indicted in fake dentistry case

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 29-year-old man was indicted this week on charges he operated a fake dentist office in his Lawrenceville apartment earlier this year.

Jesus J. Urdaneta was arrested May 16 and charged with practicing dentistry without a license, a felony. His first court appearance is expected within a month.

Police said maintenance crews investigating a water leak at the Wesley Place apartment complex on Sweetwater Road discovered the illegal operation - a fully functional dentist office.

Police were unsure at the time how many individuals Urdaneta had treated or how long the faux practice had been operational.

Urdaneta posted a $27,900 bond and was released from the Gwinnett County Detention Center a day after his arrest. Records show he was unemployed at the time.

According to the indictment released Wednesday, Urdaneta "held himself out to the public as one who would provide dental services and performed physical evaluations of patients" in a facility that was "appropriate (for) dental services."

Urdaneta could face up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine if convicted of practicing without a license.

Legal dentists in Georgia must be licensed by the state's Board of Dentistry. The board listed 5,397 active licenses across Georgia as of Wednesday.

The board ensures that applicants for dentist licenses have "acceptable education, training and personal character to safely practice in Georgia," the board's Web site reads.

Police say Urdaneta's case is not Gwinnett's only instance of fake dentistry practices in recent months.

A Lawrenceville woman was arrested Sept. 7 and accused of operating a fake dentist office with dangerous drugs on site.

Two men were arrested at the same address - 1361 Timbercrest Court - on similar drugs charges.