A Palmetto man who claimed to be a dentist and performed dentistry procedures out of his and his patients’ homes – but was never a dentist – was sentenced to three months’ house arrest and 24 months of probation in a Manatee County courtroom on Friday.
Robert “Robbie” Rheinlander made a plea of no contest Friday before Judge Edward Nicholas imposed the sentence.
Rheinlander was arrested in December 2016 after a couple went to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and told detectives they were introduced to Rheinlander through a mutual friend.
According to the arrest report, Rheinlander later told them he was a dentist and had a practice in South Carolina before moving to Florida. The couple said they paid him cash and that he offered to do the dentistry work from home to keep costs low.
But after Rheinlander extracted a tooth from the woman, leaving a fragment behind and causing medical complications, they began to research and found out that he was not a dentist. According to the report, detectives found that Rheinlander also pulled about 10 teeth without anesthetic for another patient, and also made the man dentures.
Then, when Rheinlander was contacted by a detective, who was working undercover, he also arranged to meet him for dental work, according to the sheriff’s office.
The only license Rheinlander held was one for a dental technician in South Carolina from February 2004 to March 2006. He was also disciplined during that period, detectives learned from the South Carolina Board of Dentistry. Rheinlander did not have dental or medical licenses in Florida.
The state asked for 90 days in jail followed by the 24-month probationary period. Rheinlander’s defense attorney argued for a probationary period without jail time.
According to the defense, Rheinlander claims that he knew the victims for years and they were aware he wasn’t licensed but asked him for help because they didn’t have a lot of money to pay for the work.
Rheinlander told the judge that he has always tried to help others and that the couple took advantage of him.
But the state came back to say his actions were dangerous and weren’t isolated, as he had been taking in patients for a while.
Ultimately, Judge Nicholas ruled for him to spend 90 days on house arrest and 24 months under probation.