MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Jeff Patton lost $3,300. Rochelle Therrien lost $400. Vessie Moore lost a whopping $14,000.
Schott's been ordered to forfeit $932,000 that he stole from insurance companies, but individual victims aren't entitled to restitution. U.S. attorneys prosecuting Schott represent only the insurance companies, not individual victims who paid out of pocket.
"I don't think it's fair that an individual who made (money) fraudulently can steal from people who pay out of pocket," Therrien said after learning prosecutors were not representing the victims.
Left with no teeth, she feels 'less than human'
After visiting Schott's practice, Dental Excellence, Moore didn't just leave broke — she left with no teeth.
Problems started immediately after the popular Murfreesboro dentist incorrectly installed her teeth implants in October 2016. They weren't placed correctly: Teeth fixed to the implant were crooked and often popped out.
Moore went to Schott's practice more than 20 times for issues, she estimates. Employees eventually refused to see her and said she'd have to get used to the implants the way they were.
Then she had what felt like mini strokes. But after a trip to the emergency room – and a hefty price tag – she learned the implants were actually tangled in her nerves. A different dentist removed the implants, but she's now buried in medical debt and can't afford dentures.
"It makes me feel like I'm less than human," Moore said. "I can't even get affordable dentures. ... I can't live. I can't eat. I can't do nothing."
Moore filed a lawsuit in Rutherford County Circuit Court, but the case was thrown out by Judge Darrell Scarlett since Moore filed paperwork incorrectly. She plans to refile with the help of an attorney and hopes to be compensated for the burdens placed on her by Schott's work.
Pushing pricey crowns and credit cards
Patton went to Schott eight years ago. After an examination, Schott told Patton he needed crowns and it would cost over $3,000. Schott paid $1,700 out of pocket and signed up for a credit card after being pressured by one of Schott's staff members.
Patton planned to pay it off within a year, as not to accrue any interest. But after five months of payments, he was shocked to learn that it said he owed over $3,000, more than double what he expected.
Patton called Schott's office nearly six times and was told the credit card company was to blame. But the credit card company blamed Schott.
The two businesses were in a stalemate, and Patton still owed thousands. He was able to get the charges dismissed with the help of a local attorney, but others weren't so lucky.
"I hate it for him," Patton said of Schott's downfall. "But he crushed people and represented himself as Mr. Clean."
Therrien had issues with her teeth, so she went to Schott expecting a root canal.
Employees pushed her to get crowns, she said. She refused. Employees made the crowns anyway without permission and charged her credit card for the costs. She never got her money back, and eventually paid it off.
"I just want him to pay for what he's done," Therrien said.
U.S. attorney's office spokesman David W. Boling said in an email that individuals who believe they're a victim of Schott's illegal conduct should file a report with a local law enforcement agency.
"They may also want to explore any civil remedies which may be available," Boling said.
Follow Brinley Hineman of The (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) Daily News Journal on Twitter: @brinleyhineman
This article originally appeared on Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: No teeth left and drowning in debt: Victims of a Tennessee dentist speak out