Sioux Falls, SD
The Department of Criminal Investigation has closed Advanced Eye Care on South Minnesota Avenue. On Thursday morning several agents were on the grounds of Advanced Eye Care, taking pictures and confiscating property.
DCI agents would not tell us why they were searching the property, nor would Sara Rabern, a spokesperson for the Attorney General's office.
Diane Higby was waiting with her daughter in the lobby. Her daughter was supposed to have an eye appointment. It was not hard to see that it would not be a boring day in the waiting room. Higby said at about 8:10 a.m. on Thursday, four or five DCI agents came in with bags, boxes and search warrants.
"I said, 'Well, I didn't do anything.' I asked what the search warrant was for and he said, 'records,'" Higby said.
While some agents were taking pictures, others went inside and could be seen through a large window putting papers into boxes.
"Two employees that were in front went in back to get the doctors," Higby said.
Higby said the employees did not seem surprised about the raid.
"They saw these guys and all of a sudden they were gone. It was just me and my daughter up there and they said we'd need to re-schedule your appointments. Well, we couldn't because there was nobody there to re-schedule," Higby said.
KELOLAND News has contacted The South Dakota Board of Examiners in Optometry. Board President Dr. Lisa Kollis-Young said she has received no information about the search.
"We have to remain neutral about these cases, which means we have to remain relatively uninformed about them," Kollis-Young said.
She said if there are any types of charges, the business would be reviewed by the board.
According to the board's website, eye doctors Jeffrey Browen, the owner and founder, and Rebecca Franey both have current licenses. And according to the website, no disciplinary actions have been taken against Advanced Eye Care or Browen.
According to Director of Business Tax for the South Dakota Department of Revenue Jan Talley the business is in good standing. She said if Advanced Eye Care was delinquent in paying taxes, the department would have filed a tax lien to get the money. Nothing has been filed.
KELOLAND News also contacted the Better Business Bureau and a representative said Advanced Eye Care has an 'A minus' rating and has not had a complaint filed against it in the last three years.
A representative from the Department of Labor and Regulation would not comment on whether this involves an insurance issue and said this is a DCI investigation.
As the investigation continues, Higby remains surprised and said the staff always seemed friendly.
We also reached out to Browen and Franey but our phone calls were not answered.
So far, no charges or search warrants have been filed.