Who is Alfonso Costa: Former Pittsburgh dentist pardoned by President Trump

Who is Alfonso Costa: Former Pittsburgh dentist pardoned by President Trump
Dr. Ben Carson joins Alfonso Costa during the Pittsburgh Carson's Scholars Fund Dinner at the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side in December 2014 (via TribLIVE). (John Altdorfer/TribLIVE)

PITTSBURGH — President Donald Trump issued a slew of pardons and commutations Tuesday evening for 20 people, including one man who has ties to western Pennsylvania.

Alfonso Costa, who had dental offices in Oakland and Murrysville, pleaded guilty to a health care fraud charge related to false billing between 1996 and 2001. Costa and former dental partner Roberto Michienzi were charged with fraudulently billing insurance companies for about $44,000 in dental work that was never done.

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He served two years of probation and paid nearly $300,000 in fines and restitution, as his sentence was reduced because he served more than 400 hours of community service with the Carson Scholars Fund.

The White House said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Pittsburgh Steelers legend Jerome Bettis had requested clemency for Costa and said Costa devoted much of his adult life to serving his community.

Both Carson and Bettis supported his clemency, “as well as numerous business associates, patients, and community leaders from Pittsburgh,” according to a White House press release.

“Al Costa is my best friend,” Carson said in a statement to Channel 11 News’ exchange partners at TribLIVE following his appearance with Costa at a 2015 fundraiser.

A presidential pardon restores any rights lost as a result of the pardoned offense, but does not erase or expunge the conviction, itself.

President Donald Trump issues pardons for 20 people