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March 10, 1994


Appeal from Circuit Court of Logan County. No. 91CM367. Honorable David L. Coogan, Judge Presiding.

As Corrected March 31, 1994.

Honorable Robert W. Cook, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, J., Honorable Frederick S. Green, J.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cook

JUSTICE COOK delivered the opinion of the court:

After a jury trial, defendant was convicted on three counts of the unlawful practice of dentistry. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 111, par. 2338.) Defendant was sentenced to 12 months' supervision, fined $250, and ordered to pay $390 restitution to the Illinois State Dental Society. Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the information and the evidence to support the convictions. We affirm.

Most of the evidence in this case resulted from an investigation conducted by Dennis Conover, a private investigator hired by Dr. Robert Dahman, a dentist in Lincoln, Illinois. Dahman was reimbursed by the Illinois State Dental Society for the payments he made to Conover. On June 10, 1991, Conover, as instructed by Dahman, contacted defendant to make an appointment to have dentures made. Conover testified that when he called defendant, he asked for Dr. Gary Hinton, and defendant responded that he was Dr. Hinton. Defendant testified that he identified himself simply as "Gary." During this telephone conversation, an appointment was made for June 13, 1991.

On June 13, 1991, at approximately 12 noon, Conover arrived at defendant's home and place of business in Lincoln, Illinois. Conover brought with him Michael Seward, who videotaped people who came or left defendant's place of business. Conover asked defendant if he was Dr. Hinton, and defendant said he was. Conover identified himself as Robert Ledbetter (an alias) and said he needed a new set of dentures quickly. At this time, an older man was also at defendant's offices. This man was later identified as Dr. Ernest Brinkman. Dr. Brinkman is an associate of defendant, who defendant claims supervises him and is responsible for his treatment of patients. During this first visit, defendant put two steel plates in Conover's mouth, then removed them.

Conover testified that during this first visit Brinkman was in the kitchen at the beginning of the appointment. Brinkman came into the treatment room when Conover said he was from Pekin. Brinkman briefly discussed the likelihood of a prison being built in Pekin. Shortly after this conversation, while Conover was still being treated, Brinkman told defendant he was going to check his mail. Brinkman then left the premises. His departure was videotaped by Conover's associate. Defendant testified that Dr. Brinkman was at the office when the procedure began and instructed defendant to make diagnostic casts.

According to Conover's testimony, after Dr. Brinkman left defendant mixed up some chemicals to make an impression of Conover's mouth. Defendant then proceeded to make the impression while Dr. Brinkman was absent from the premises. Defendant and Conover then agreed to set another appointment for June 18, 1991.

When Conover and Seward returned on June 18, 1991, they noticed the car Dr. Brinkman left in on June 13 was not in the parking lot. When Conover entered defendant's place of business, he asked defendant if there was anyone else in the building, and defendant said "no." During the visit, defendant put a wax "try-in" denture into Conover's mouth to see whether it would fit. Conover testified Dr. Brinkman was not then present. Dr. Brinkman, however, testified he was at the office on this occasion and his car was not in the lot because he was having his brakes repaired. Defendant as well testified that Dr. Brinkman was at the office for the second appointment. Defendant and Conover then made an appointment for June 21, 1991, to exchange $390 for the new dentures.

Before the June 21 meeting, Conover went to Dr. Dahman's office and was given $400 with which he was to purchase the dentures from defendant. When Conover and Seward arrived at defendant's office on June 21, 1991, Dr. Brinkman's car was not present. Conover received the dentures and paid defendant $390, then asked for a receipt. After searching, defendant gave Conover the requested receipt. Dr. Brinkman again testified that he was at the office on this third occasion.

The information gathered by Conover was given to the State's Attorney for Logan County. On December 18, 1991, a three-count information was filed against defendant charging him with unlawful practice of dentistry on June 13, 18, and 21, 1991, the days Conover visited defendant's office. After hearing the testimony of Conover, defendant and Dr. Brinkman, the jury found defendant guilty on all three counts. On March 12, 1993, defendant was sentenced and this appeal followed.

Defendant first argues the information was defective. The information charged defendant with violating section 38 of the Illinois Dental Practice Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 111, par. 2338), and identified the acts which constituted the unlawful practice of dentistry by stating that the defendant, without a dental license:

"Intentionally took impressions of the upper and lower jaws of Dennis Conover for the purpose of making ...

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