SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former Coronado dentist who used a fake name to lure patients to Mexico, where he performed dental implant surgery on them, pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony and misdemeanor counts, including unlicensed dentistry with risk of bodily harm and practicing dentistry under a false name.
Robert Mansueto, 65, is also expected to plead guilty at a later date in a burglary/forgery/theft case in which he allegedly deposited two checks -- one for $640,999 and one for $156,000 -- into his account after altering the payee to be the defendant's company, said Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas. The defendant faces anywhere from probation to seven years in local prison when he is sentenced June 15.
Mansueto pleaded guilty to the unlicensed dentistry counts as his trial was underway in the courtroom of Judge Melinda Lasater.
The defendant -- using the name Dr. Bob Franco -- told an undercover investigator posing as a patient that he would take her to Tijuana to place dental implants in her mouth, according to evidence produced at a preliminary hearing last year.
Minutes after the undercover officer left Mansueto's Coronado home, an investigator from the Dental Board of California, Shannon Reza, knocked on his door and confronted him about taking patients to Mexico for treatment.
Mansueto had lost his license to practice dentistry in California more than a decade ago due to "negligence and incompetence," authorities said.
Reza testified on behalf of four patients who said they found out about the dentist in the San Diego Reader.
When they called, the patients said Mansueto told them to meet him at his home in Coronado and he would drive them to a "state-of-the-art" dental facility in Tijuana for treatment.
Mansueto told an undercover investigator that he could help her get inexpensive dental implants because the work would be done in Mexico and that the price would be even cheaper because he owned his own implant company.