Convicted White Plains dentist gives up license after 7 month fight

After a bitter seven-month battle, Dr. Joanne Baker (left) quietly signed away her state dental license today and returned to jail for scamming her insurance company over three years.

Baker, whose appearances in Westchester County Court have leaned toward the dramatic, surrendered her license as a condition of her probation. County Judge Barbara Zambelli sentenced her on Nov. 16 to five years’ “shock” probation with the first six months spent at the county jail.

On Tuesday, Zambelli said Baker could reapply for her license if she successfully completes her probation sentence. If she does not, the revocation would be permanent.

Baker asked the judge if she would be able to complete her probation sentence in three years, noting that she attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zambelli told her not to get her hopes up about an early discharge, noting that her education had nothing to do with the situation.

“This is driven by how well you do on probation,” she said. “It doesn’t mean you’re not smart.”

Baker, a 51-year-old Scarsdale resident, pleaded guilty in May to third-degree grand larceny and insurance fraud. Prosecutors said she ran a scam in which she sent phony bills to Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and created phony patient records from 2006 to 2009.

Baker had stopped the paperwork to revoke her dental licence and changed lawyers several times, causing delays in the case. She was sent to jail in September after refusing to meet with the county Probation Department for a pre-sentencing report, mandatory for all defendants upon conviction. She had been free on $10,000 bail before that.

She has repaid MetLife $8,920 and paid an additional $50,000 in what is known as a “stipulation of settlement.”

An interesting side note: the assistant district attorney in the Baker case, Brian Fitzgerald, also prosecuted another White Plains dentist – “parking rage” defendant Dr. William Moody, whose 2007 videotaped assault of a Buchanan woman became an Internet sensation. Feel free to add your own bad puns about Fitzgerald taking a bite out of crime.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.