FORT DODGE - A teeth whitening clinic is accused of operating without their permit and not giving their customers what they were promised.
Police say they took over the case after they got a complaint about Smile Labs from the Iowa Dental Board, but when the detective got to the business he saw it was closed with a "For Rent" sign in the window.
"It was very unprofessional," said Fort Dodge native Jodie Johnson.
Johnson is a hair stylist and was a customer of Smile Labs. She said the owner, Jennifer Meyers, gave her three whitening sessions in exchange for her hair being done. She thought things seemed normal until she went to her first appointment.
"She kind of fumbled around in what she was doing. There's like a big guard that keeps your mouth open and it's like a little pin. She had it all over my gums which burned. I did two sessions that day, back to back, of 15 minutes," said Johnson.
When she asked Meyers if the burning was normal, she said it was, but she couldn't give her a reason why. Jodie says she also bought a gift card for $300 for her husband and son to have their teeth whitened, but Jennifer always canceled or never showed. Jodie isn't the only one that lost money.
"I know she owes a lot of my friends, ones that do own small businesses, money for them purchasing gift cards. She owes for snow removal and lawn care. She kind of just ran herself in the ground," said Johnson.
Local 5 reached out to Jennifer, but she said she was out of state and had her lawyer, Neden Mulholland, speak on her behalf.
"We do not know what the allegations are and we're certainly not in a position to comment until we have an opportunity to review," said Mulholland.
Jodie and the rest of the victims are hoping something comes out of the investigation, but they don't think they'll be getting their money back any time soon.
"I don't care if she took the money from me, but I know that she owes so many people money that never got services," said Johnson.
Fort Dodge Police is looking for any other victims that may have had an experience similar to Jodie's. They say the information they get will help them determine what the charges will be in this case. For now they say to make sure any dentistry you go to has the proper certification and you read reviews before going in for an appointment.
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