John F. Lehrian, who is retired, and David E. Palo, of what was known as Lehrian & Palo Oral Surgery, 100 State St., pleaded not guilty to federal charges that they the defrauded insurance companies of more than $323,000. They were indicted July 12 on charges of health care fraud. The government is alleging Lehrian and Palo charged the insurance companies for pulling teeth using surgical extractions. Those extractions, the government said, were unnecessary and more expensive than what should have been the necessary procedures for removing the teeth.

A grand jury in Erie indicted the two separately. The U.S. attorney’s office is alleging their bills were fraudulent because they never needed to surgically extract many teeth — 26 for Palo and 20 for Lehrian. The government said nine of the teeth Palo said he pulled were baby teeth, and that some of the teeth Lehrian said he pulled were decayed and did not need surgical extraction for removal.

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