KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville dentist was sentenced for conspiring to commit health care fraud after he plead guilty, the Department of Justice said.

According to the DOJ release, Clarence “Buzz” Nabers, 56, was sentenced to six months in prison followed by six months of house arrest. Nabers, who is a Tennessee licensed dentist, will also serve a year of supervised release, pay restitution of $249,600.02 and pay a fine of $22,128, the release states.

The release states that the conspiracy began at an unknown date and lasted until at least November 1, 2018. During this time, the release says that Nabers conspired to submit more than 6,700 fraudulent claims to three healthcare benefits programs, costing the programs nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

The fraudulent claims said Nabers performed or supervised several dental procedures in his office that he later admitted to having not been present for, according to the release. Some of these procedures included oral evaluations, oral evaluations on patients under the age of 3, and comprehensive periodontal evaluations, which are all required to be performed or supervised by a dentist, not a dental hygienist or dental assistant, the release said.

The investigation that led to this case was done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Nabers still has a practice listed off of Northshore Road in Knoxville on his website.

The attorneys representing Nabers shared the following statement with WATE:

Buzz Nabers is a well-respected dentist who is committed to his family, his patients, and his community.

Dr. Nabers has settled a financial case brought by the government over something that ended many years ago. Dr. Nabers readily cooperated and took responsibility for what happened then, and he has fully made restitution. His case has concluded, and his dental practice will continue. What occurred back then doesn’t speak to how Dr. Nabers cares for his patients or runs his practice now. As a person of faith, he believes we are all deserving of grace and forgiveness.

Dr. Nabers appreciates the support he has received from his loving family, colleagues, patients, and friends, who know him to be a caring person and excellent dentist. Dr. Nabers looks forward to continuing to serve his community as a small business owner, employer, and dentist. Buzz Nabers is dedicated to continuing to provide his patients with excellent care.

It has been our honor to represent Dr. Nabers and help guide him and his family through this process.

Stephen Ross Johnson, Catalina L.c. Goodwin, Ritchie, Davies, Johnson & Stovall, P.c.
Counsel For Buzz Nabers, DDS

Previously, Nabers, who operated two dental practices in Knoxville, was fined $11,000 and had his dental license put on a two-year prohibitory period in 2019 after an investigation by the Tennessee Board of Dentistry for having dental hygienists and dental assistants performing procedures beyond their scope. The investigation also found that he had forged some dental certifications and improperly sterilized equipment, a previous report states.

This isn’t the first time Nabers has had a legal scandal. In December 2019, a lawsuit claimed that Nabers cut an assistant’s hours and then fired her after she refused to do procedures that she wasn’t certified to do and then reported the misconduct.

Another lawsuit sought $50 million from Nabers for the three individuals who filed the class-action suit and approximately 8,000 patients. This lawsuit came after Nabers sent letters to patients that said because of the sterilization procedures, they may want to get tested for HIV, and Hepatitis B and C. The letters told patients that the risk of infection was small and that no patients had reported being infected.