William C. Gardner used to advertise himself as the best cosmetic dentist in Albuquerque.
Now he’s an inmate at the Sandoval County Detention Center, accused of “defiantly practicing dentistry” despite the revocation of his license more than three years ago.
Gardner, 53, is on a no-bond hold after a state grand jury on Aug. 18 indicted him on one count of practicing dentistry without a license in August 2022, a fourth-degree felony.
He also faces a charge of obstructing or resisting probation officers who tried to arrest him, allegedly forcing them to pin him to a cabinet until they could handcuff and place him in leg restraints, court records show.
It’s the latest in a years-long effort by state regulators, state Probation and Parole officers, and special prosecutors to compel Gardner to stop practicing dentistry. He was indicted last October with the felony offense of practicing dentistry without a license in July 2022. That case is still pending in the courts.
“The nature and seriousness of the crime is belied by its name,” stated a prosecutor’s unsuccessful motion last year to keep Gardner in jail until trial. “This is no administrative offense. Patients put their trust in dentists to do work that can be inherently dangerous and may injure them. By requiring dentists to be licensed, the state is the guardian of that trust.”
As special prosecutor Michael Fricke put it in a Jan. 3, 2022, motion: “The Defendant has been Defiantly Practicing Dentistry.”
The most recent criminal indictment states that Gardner practiced or attempted to practice dentistry between Aug. 8 and Aug. 10, 2022.
Gardner is also facing a potential revocation of his three years of probation imposed after he pleaded no contest in February 2022 to two counts of committing tax fraud. A hearing is set for Sept. 11.
One of the conditions of his probation barred him from practicing dentistry without a license. His license was revoked effective Jan. 1, 2020, by the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care. He has had disciplinary cases before the board off and on since 2014.
“Since beginning supervision 1 and 1/2 years ago Probationer has been nothing but defiant,” stated state probation and parole officer Robert Otero in an Aug. 14, 2023, report. Gardner has been “repeatedly told the rules of supervision and constantly argues with probation about what the conditions of supervision are and he repeatedly makes false claims that rules do not apply to him.”
An Arizona physician in March sued Gardner for allegedly using the physician’s photo, letterhead and email account to create a phony doctor’s excuse that he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and needed to be quarantined for 14 days. The physician, who contends his reputation was damaged as a result, alleges that Garner used the email to try to keep his probation officers from filing a probation violation against him.
Probation officers have recommended Gardner be incarcerated for the remainder of his probationary period.
“One defense method he appears to resort to when he feels he is not in control of a situation is to intimidate with threat of a lawsuit, which he did during his last office appointment,” Otero, the probation officer, reported. “The multitude of previous violations should have given Probationer the understanding that he needs to begin taking his supervision seriously. However, he has repeatedly demonstrated that this is not at any point going to happen. Furthermore, by resisting arrest, Probationer placed himself and others in danger and demonstrated that he is now a flight risk.”
Court records reveal a long list of civil and criminal cases involving Gardner over the past decade.
Gardner was licensed to practice dentistry in New Mexico in 1996, but by 2014 had run into disciplinary issues with state dentistry regulators who alleged he was overprescribing opiate pain relievers to patients and failing to comply with state rules for prescription monitoring. He was ordered to undergo continuing education, but refused to take in-person continuing education courses, court records show.
Last year, after he was placed on probation in the tax fraud case, Gardner allegedly examined one patient, extracted the wisdom teeth of another and examined a third woman, court records allege. At least two former patients have filed malpractice cases against him.
Gardner was accused in 2019 of nine counts of submitting false claims to Delta Dental Insurance, a case that was dismissed when he pleaded “no contest” to the tax fraud.
Meanwhile, Gardner has filed lawsuits against two of his former attorneys, alleging legal malpractice.
He also has a pending lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque Code Enforcement. And he is suing members of the state board of Dental Health Care and the special prosecutors from the state Office of Superintendent of Insurance who have prosecuted him. In some of the civil cases, he filed pro se, without an attorney’s assistance. He claims his civil rights have been violated.
Efforts by the Journal to reach his attorney in the pending criminal matters weren’t successful this week.
Probation officer Otero summed up Gardner’s history so far on probation, reports show.
For instance, Otero wrote that Gardner has had a “mental health evaluation, a restitution plan, and specific probation conditions. He is not on the same type of supervision plan as most probationers as he does not appear to have a substance abuse problem …”
But his refusal to comply continues, Otero stated. For instance, it is alleged that:
His cellphone is now locked and Gardner refuses to allow probation and parole to unlock it.
Gardner claims to be employed through his real estate license and even though probation officers have repeatedly instructed him to provide proof of his income, he still has not provided anything and his source of income continues to be unknown.
Gardner brought a $100 money order to the probation office to pay toward his $162,000 court-ordered restitution. But the money order wasn’t signed by him, and instead he “wrote ‘protest.’” As a result, the money order cannot be cashed.
A state district judge ordered him to take down a website advertising his business, which he did. Then the site reappeared. “As for why his website has been recreated and is operational again and he claimed it was done without his knowledge and he has no control over it,” Otero reported on Jan. 11 of this year.