New judge orders embattled dentist to appear

Dr. Howard S. Schneider charged with 11 counts of Medicaid fraud

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dr. Howard S. Schneider, the pediatric dentist facing allegations of mistreatment of pediatric patients, was ordered to appear at the next hearing in his case of Medicaid fraud, set for Feb. 8.

Judge Angela Cox took over the case Tuesday after Judge Mark Hulsey recused himself for unknown reasons. There was speculation that he has a connection to Schneider's family.

Schneider, 78, is charged with 11 counts of unauthorized Medicaid claims. Schneider bonded out of jail on a $110,000 bond and was released and is now living in St. Simons Island, Ga.

At a hearing Thursday, Schneider's arraignment was passed, with Cox saying she will not arraign him unless he is in the courtroom.

Since last April, hundreds of parents have claimed Schneider abused their children as they sat in his dentist chair. They also claim he performed unnecessary dental procedures for the purpose of ripping off Medicaid.

Last year, News4Jax reviewed state records and found that Schneider received $3.9 million in Medicaid reimbursements over the past five years. According to the Agency for Health Care Administration, Schneider’s fee-for-service reimbursements in both 2012 and 2013 were over $1 million.

Schneider eventually closed his Arlington office and relinquished his license to practice in both Florida and Georgia. 

Schneider’s 11 counts of Medicaid fraud could each carry a punishment of up to five years in jail but that time could mount if all of the counts are grouped together.

Schneider has filed a motion last year saying he cannot afford to pay his attorney's fees for the case.

Dozens of Schneider's former patients have filed a class-action lawsuit against him. That was amicably settled, according to attorney John Phillips, who expects more suits to be filed.