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Oak Harbor denture maker charged with biting into his patient’s wallets
The former owner of Oak Harbor Denture Center was charged this month with bilking seven of his clients by collecting payments and never providing dentures, according to court documents.
Oak Harbor Police Department and the state Attorney General’s Office investigated Kevin Kowalski, 43, of Burlington in 2008 after a series of patients reported fraud.
The victims said they paid Kowalski for dentures they never received or that didn’t fit right.
In some cases, clients said they received dirty, used dentures.
Several of the clients were unable to eat for months and lost dramatic amounts of weight, according to the Oak Harbor police.
On April 12, prosecutors charged Kowalski in Island County Superior Court with seven counts of theft in the first degree. He faces up to a year and seven months in prison if convicted of all the charges.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme said the state Attorney General’s Office held the file on Kowalski until last year. The state AG declined to charge Kowalski and forwarded the case to the Island County prosecuting attorney’s office.
Ohme said the Attornet General’s Office held onto the Medicare-related cases.
Detective Carl Seim wrote the investigative report on the case in 2011. His report details seven victims who lost between $1,870 to $2,400.
Seim wrote that Kowalski demanded payment up front, then he would cancel appointments and make excuses for not finishing the dentures.
Oak Harbor police originally arrested Kowalski in 2008 after receiving complaints from more than 30 Whidbey residents, while many more potential victims were identified in Skagit County.
At the time, Seim told the Whidbey News-Times that there were potentially more than 100 victims.