Woman charged with faking credentials as dental hygienist in South Bay

SAN JOSE — An Arizona woman has been criminally charged with lying about her credentials and using stolen identities to work as a dental hygienist in the South Bay for at least five years, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Elizabeth “Mina” Larijani, 50, is charged with 16 felony and misdemeanor counts based on allegations she lied about being a state-licensed dental assistant or hygienist between 2015 and 2020. According to prosecutors’ formal complaint and investigative summary, she either worked at or applied to 11 dental offices in San Jose and Campbell.

Larijani — who also goes by Elizabeth Garcia Costilla — was arrested in Glendale, Arizona and extradited to San Jose last week. She was initially in jail custody on $40,000 bail, but she was released Monday and ordered to return to court June 13.

The Dental Hygiene Board of California began investigating Larijani in 2018 after receiving a complaint that she was misrepresenting her licensing and qualifications. The investigation found that in several instances, she submitted in paperwork the license numbers of two dental hygienists who were unaware their licenses were being used. Authorities allege that whenever the issue of licensing came up in depth, she was evasive then left and went on to apply to or work at another office.

By allegedly lying about her status, Larijani bypassed requirements that she complete an accredited schooling program and pass examinations conducted by the dental hygiene board.

The board investigators presented their findings to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in 2019. After the office conducted its own investigation, prosecutors in 2020 filed 13 felony charges against Larijani alleging tax fraud and identity theft, and three misdemeanor charges of practicing dental hygiene work without a license.

When Larijani was located and arrested in Arizona, she was reportedly actively working as a dental hygienist.

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