Jesus Bernal

A Tucson chiropractor was convicted in Pima County Superior Court this week for working with an unlicensed dentist, officials said.

Jesus Bernal was convicted on charges of fraudulent schemes, money laundering, practicing dentistry without a license, conspiracy and illegal control of an enterprise, Mia Garcia, an Arizona Attorney General's Office spokeswoman, wrote in a news release.

The FBI and AG's office investigated the case and learned that Maria Hernandez would travel up from Mexico to provide dental treatments to Tucson residents and worked out of a makeshift dental office in Bernal's chiropractic clinic, the release said.

During the trial, Bernal's former employees said that Bernal would monitor when Hernandez saw patients in the office, to ensure that he got paid. When FBI agents searched the makeshift dental office, they found "unsanitary conditions and no means of sterilization," the release said.

Bernal is facing up to 25 years in prison for his involvement and will be scheduled in Pima County Superior Court on Feb. 15.

Hernandez is also facing charges, but is currently on the run and believed to be hiding in Mexico, the release said.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191


I'm a government watchdog reporter, covering public safety policy and family issues.