Investigators are warning people to watch out for a woman in the Oklahoma City area who's posing as a dentist and performing dental work without any training.
Susan Rogers, Executive Director of Oklahoma's Board of Dentistry, put out the warning and said dozens could have been exposed to diseases.
The suspect, Elizabeth Hinosa, allegedly worked with her daughter Monica Orozco in the scam. Rogers says would set up shop at legitimate dental offices in the metro as translators for Spanish-speaking clients, then trick those patients into coming back for appointments after normal operating hours.
That was when Hinosa, known as "Dr. Liz" would perform dental procedures for which she had no training, botching them and endangering patients.
"She's never had any training. Not an unlicensed person, a fake dentist," said Rogers. "She was stealing the dentists' equipment and using needles on people with no training to do so."
That lack of training put dozens of patients in dangerous situations. Many were unaware Hinosa was faking her way through procedures. The victims, both kids and adults, told investigators horror stories about "Dr. Liz's" work; from stuffing root canals with cotton to holding braces in place with chewing gum.
"Root canals, braces on kids and adults, grinding down teeth, pulling teeth, making bridges; pretty much everything that a dental office does with no training," Rogers said.
"I had a couple of victims that have told me they nearly passed out. We also have reason to believe that there is [sic] possibly some communicable diseases out there. We don't know what kind of sanitation procedures she was using [because] she didn't know what she was doing."
Investigators say Hinosa has been posing as a dentist for at least five years at legitimate offices and her own fake office. Until now, she has gotten away with it.
"She's a really good scammer and part of it was when she's coming in the office after hours under the auspices of cleaning. The dentist didn't know. And until you have someone complain, you didn't know about it."
Rogers says victims should not be afraid to come forward. The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry is working with legitimate dentists to help victims get repair work and tested for diseases. Rogers says the board worries many victims will not come forward because of their immigration status.
Anyone who may have come in contact with Hinosa should call (405) 524-9037 to make a report and get help repairing any damage they may have suffered.