Former Mt. Vernon dentist Alms, wife charged with felony stealing, arson

Steve Chapman

Laura Alms also faces charge of witness tampering
Former Mt. Vernon dentist Thomas Alms, who pleaded guilty last month to Medicaid fraud, and his wife Laura Alms are now accused of felony stealing and arson. A grand jury charged the pair with the crimes on Friday, March 29.
According to the criminal complaints filed in the cases, Thomas and Laura Alms are accused of allegedly setting fire to Thomas Alms’ dentist office at 155 Patterson in Mt. Vernon on or around Jan. 2, 2018; they then allegedly reported the fire as an accident to their insurance company and collected at least $25,000. Laura is also charged with two counts of witness tampering; the criminal complaint against her states she allegedly told two prospective witnesses not to speak to law enforcement regarding the alleged arson. Thomas is also accused of allegedly billing an insurance company for services he allegedly never provided. A grand jury charged Thomas on Friday, March 29, with one count of felony stealing.
According to a probable cause statement filed in the case, a local resident filed a complaint with the Mt. Vernon Police Department on Nov. 15, 2018. In the complaint, the resident went to see Alms in January of 2017 for pain in several teeth. He said Alms re-crowned one tooth, but was unable to work on any others due to an infection; the resident was prescribed an antibiotic for the infection and root canal work was scheduled for the following month.
The resident said that on the day of the appointment, Feb. 14, 2017, he was told by Alms’ assistant that his insurance would not cover more x-rays and asked that none be taken.
The resident later received an explanation of benefits from his insurance company stating a bill had been sent from Alms’ office to them for $1,049 for two root canals, x-rays and an oral exam; the insurance company paid $796.50. The resident called the insurance company and told them the work billed for was not done. The resident’s wife also called Alms’ office, and an employee there sent the insurance company a corrected claim for two incomplete root canals and a temporary crown; the claim was for $612.43. The insurance company paid $371.24.
The resident went to a dentist in Monett and was told no work could be done on his teeth until the money his insurance company paid to Alms’ office was returned. He then went to the Four States Dental Clinic in Monett, where he was told an x-ray showed neither of the teeth had root canals, and the crown which Alms’ was supposed to have placed in January of 2017 was not present.
The resident and his wife contacted the insurance company and spoke with a supervisor. After they explained the situation to the supervisor, they were told the company’s special investigations department was going to look into the case.
The resident also stated that he was unable to get his teeth fixed until this year because of the billing of his insurance company, and because of the amount of time that had elapsed, his teeth were worse than before he went to Dr. Alms’ office.
Thomas and Laura Alms appeared before the grand jury on Monday, April 8, and were arraigned on all the charges facing them. They were booked into the Lawrence County Jail and then each released on $40,000 bail. They are each scheduled to appear in court again on Monday, May 13.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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