By Mary Bubala

CROFTON, Md. (WJZ)—A dentist with ties to Maryland is headed to prison after admitting he used paper clips during root canals.

Mary Bubala explains his punishment isn’t enough for the victims he operated on.

Dr. Michael Clair admits he used paper clips in patients’ mouths for root canals. He walked into court in Fall River, Mass. having already pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare of $130,000 over a two-year period.

He must pay back all of that.

On Monday, he learned the other price he’ll pay: jail time.

“Certainly, some period of incarceration is necessary,” said Judge Richard Moses. “I have attempted to temper justice with mercy in arriving at a fair sentence in this case. It is your punishment by confined to the Bristol County House of Correction for a period of two and one-half years.”

All but a year of that sentence was suspended.

Clair, who now lives in Crofton,  was shackled and handcuffed to begin serving his time right away.

Brenda Almeida, the mother one of Clair’s victims, says the punishment is not nearly strong enough.

“He should’ve got more time,” she said. “If people knew what my kids went through, and the pain and suffering they went through. He should’ve got more time. You might as well just send him to the YMCA or something.”

Almeida says her son’s tooth turned black and had to be pulled after his root canal in 2005.

Clair did not speak during the sentencing. After a spending a year in jail, he will be on probation for five years.

Clair is banned from practicing dentistry anywhere, including here in Maryland.


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