Prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against a Universal City man, accusing him of practicing dentistry illegally in a back room of a toy store in a strip mall.
Undercover investigators with the California Board of Dental Examiners said they organized a sting and determined that Edgar Hernando DelaRosa, 60, was practicing dentistry without a license. The misdemeanor offense carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and $1,000 fine.
Authorities know of no injuries caused by DelaRosa, but Mike Qualls, spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney's office, said unlicensed dentists are a threat to public health.
"We prosecute many of these cases every year to protect the public," he said.
Qualls said he did not know if DelaRosa had a license from another state or country.
Investigators were tipped off by an anonymous source and later posed as patients to conduct surveillance of the dental office.
In September, an undercover investigator went to the toy store in the 14000 block of Vanowen Street in Van Nuys and told DelaRosa that he had an urgent dental problem. DelaRosa sat the investigator in a dental chair and examined him with a mouth mirror. At that point, the investigator identified himself and took DelaRosa into custody.
Charges were filed Monday. He is to be arraigned Dec. 2.
Investigators searched the office and seized dental instruments, including a dental light, suction tubes and a cuspidor.