CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (FOX 2) - An unlicensed dentist with an unknown immigration status is accused of running a practice out of a basement in Clinton Township, with what authorities are calling quite an "elbaorate" set up.
Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith said Friday that Leka Gjokaj bought dentist equipment off eBay through China. Investigators found a dentist chair, an x-ray machine, molds for teeth and other items in a downstairs room.
Smith said Gjokaj told investigators he had been to dental school in Albania and that he'd been a dentist since 1989. Authorities said Gjokaj came to the U.S. on a work visa and that his immigration status is in question right now. It appears he may have overstayed his visa.
Gjokaj has been charged with the crime of health professional operating without a license, a 4-year felony, for operating as an unlicensed dentist. Smith said he has a federal detainer on him to hold him for immigration as well.
It's not known right now how long the defendent had been doing the alleged procedures from his basement. Authorities also aren't sure yet of exactly how many patients were seen, or exactly what type of procedures were performed. They said when they were executing the search warrant that someone pulled up to the house for a teeth cleaning.
Records and computers were seized from the basement during the search warrant execution. Smith said investigators did not find any kind of paper customer records nor any narcotics.
The suspect told authorities after he was taken into custody that he was seeing one to two patients per day, and that he used his church as a word-of-mouth referral service. Investigators weren't sure of the name of the church but say it's in Rochester Hills.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith says someone sent an anonymous letter to a nearby dentist and reported the basement office. That dentist called police in Clinton Township.
The case is still ongoing as investigators work to round up patients to learn exactly what kind of work took place in the basement. While Gjokaj's bond is only set at $5,000, Immigration Customs and Enforcement now has a hold on him.
Investigators say they believe his wife helped take appointments. She has not been taken into custody and is not facing any charges at this time.