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Prosecutors: NYC office worker posed as dentist, performed root canals

Valbona Yzeiraj said she received dental training in her native Albania, but prosecutors said she was not licensed or trained in the United States.

By Ben Hooper

NEW YORK, April 17 (UPI) -- A New York dental practice office manager posed as a dentist while her boss was out of the office and even performed root canals on patients, prosecutors said.

Bronx Assistant District Attorney Patrick McCadden said Valbona Yzeiraj, 45, called herself "Dr. Val" when she posed as a dentist and saw patients on occasions when Ultimate Dental Care dentist Dr. Jeffrey Schoengold was out of the office between late 2012 and summer 2013.

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Yzeiraj, who allegedly offered a discount for cash customers, told authorities she received dental training in her native Albania, but McCadden said there is no record of her receiving training in the United States or being licensed to practice.

"She inspected patients, she diagnosed patients, she took X-rays, she injected patients with anesthetics, she even gave patients root canals," McCadden said at Yzeiraj's Thursday arraignment.

McCadden said Yzeiraj preyed on the "vulnerabilities" of the Albanian community by targeting them as patients. He said one patient suffered an infection from a botched root canal and another reported persistent pain two years after being treated by the faux dentist.

Schoengold said he hired Yzeiraj from a Craigslist ad in 2009. He said he fired her and contacted police when he learned she had been treating patients without his knowledge.

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"This is a gross betrayal of trust to me and to the community," Schoengold told the The New York Daily News.

"There was no record at all," Schoengold said. "You hear about things like this. You never think it's gonna happen to you and here I am and it's happening."

Prosecutors said Yzeiraj tried to steal $20,000 from the practice's payroll department after her firing.

Yzeiraj pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges including felony assault, unauthorized practice, felony attempted grand larceny and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

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