Ottawa Police charge man with impersonating a dentist
Published Friday, June 9, 2017 5:38PM EDT
Omar Anwar from an on-line image.
Ottawa Police have arrested a man for pretending to be a dentist. 29-year-old Omar Anwar appeared in court today to face several charges.
Remember that movie "Catch me if you can?"
He's no Leonardo DiCaprio, but police say his ruse was elaborate and only detected when he applied to write the national dental exam.
At one of the two Ottawa clinics where Omar Anwar had worked for a few months, there was shock over his arrest.
“I just heard about it two hours ago,” said one woman, “and I've been on the phone and in communication with the owner.”
In a statement, the clinic said,
"Omar Anwar shadowed at Harmony Dentistry but did not perform any dental work on anyone as a dentist."
On his social media, though, Anwar calls himself a doctor, even puts the credentials of DDS or Doctor of Dental Surgery after his name.
Ottawa Police arrested Anwar after a complaint from the National Dental Examining Board of Canada that a man was using fraudulent credentials to try to write an exam May 27th and 28th to get a dental license in Canada.
“A male has used credentials from a true dentist to ascertain an exam time to pass this document,” says Constable Chuck Benoit with the Ottawa Police.
Detective Shaun Wahbeh with the Ottawa Police Fraud section says Anwar had told the Ottawa clinics that he had a degree in dentistry from the University of Minnesota and was just waiting to write his exam to practice here. Wahbeh says while Anwar is well-educated, he does not have any formal training in dentristy at all. Wahbeh says the real “Omar” is Dr. Omar Villavicencio who actually did graduate from the University of Minnesota and now works as a dentist in Miami. CTV Ottawa tried unsuccessfully to contact Dr. Villavicencio at his office.
Police say it was the University of Minnesota that finally noticed something was suspicious. When they were sending the National Dental Examining Board the transcripts of Omar Anwar, they noticed that the student card of the real Omar didn't match.
They contacted police and their investigation revealed that someone had accessed the university credentials of the real dentist to change the name on those credentials to his own.
The Registrar of the National Dental Examining Board of Canada says it has strict fraud detection in place because others have tried the same thing.
“I can tell you that in the time that I’ve been registrar,” Dr. Jack Gerrow said in a telephone interview, “that we've had 5 or 6 cases of fraudulent documents.”
Anwar is faces multiple charges, including uttering a forged document, obtaining employment by false pretence and personating a dentist. He appeared in court today and was released until his next court appearance. His lawyer, Paolo Giancaterino says he could not say whether Anwar had any training as a dentist.
“That I can't answer at this point,” he said outside court, “I haven't discussed that with him yet but that's at the heart of these allegations.”
Allegations that have yet to be proven in court. Anwar is back in court later this month.