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Kenosha County Man Accused Of Practicing Optometry Without A License For Years Is Criminally Charged

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Lee Hagopian, 52 of Salem, WI

Lee Hagopian is not a licensed optometrist. But at least as far back as 2015, people have been accusing him of practicing optometry anyway. Fox 6 did an investigative piece on him that generated a lot of interest. Many folks came forward and accused Hagopian of doing eye exams, which only optometrists can do. At one point, the state did sanction Hagopian for practicing without a license, but no real consequences followed. His old business was called “Eye Xams” and was located on Pershing Blvd in Kenosha. There is an active alert on the Better Business Bureau website that indicates Hagopian is unlicensed.

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Hagopian fled to the western, more rural part of the county, seemingly to escape his infamy. He now runs a business in Paddock Lake called Next Day Glasses, formerly Eyes on U Optical. As an optician, he can sell glasses if you already have a prescription, but not give eye exams. In October of 2019, about 4 years after being confronted by Fox 6, he was again being accused of doing exams illegally. Jill Gillmore of Kenosha County called Next Day Glasses because she needed new glasses and wanted to try contacts. Hagopian gave her an exam that cost $89. She also ordered glasses and contacts. The total was $759. Hagopian even claimed he billed her VSP insurance. Hagopian gave Gillmore some trial contacts and eye-drops.

Later that afternoon, Gillmore put on the contacts and before long, the pain was unbearable. Here eyes felt like they were on fire and they were itching severely. Gillmore called Hagopian and told him of her issues. He told her to use the eye-drops that he gave her. Gillmore noticed that the contacts and eye-drops were both expired. The next day, Gillmore went to a licensed optometrist and the doctor said her eye had an injury and the beginnings of an infection. He treated her infection and thankfully, she got well again. Gillmore wanted her money back, but more importantly not to have her insurance billed – she can only use it once a year. Hagopian refused the refund. Gillmore contacted the state licensing agency, DSPS, and filed a report. The Fox 6 Investigators did another story on Hagopian.

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Sheriff’s Department Investigation

Two sheriffs detectives interviewed Hagopian on January 14, 2020. They found a treasure trove of evidence that Hagopian was in fact giving eye exams. They found optometry equipment concealed by a black tarp. One Detective pointed out that on Hagopian’s website, it indicates that an “optometrist is ready for your eye exam.” Hagopian told them he worked with an optometrist in Antioch but then admitted that he “probably wouldn’t know who I am.” Detectives pointed out the contact lens display and noticed that they were 5 years expired. Hagopian asserted that the shelf life is 5 years longer than what is stamped on the box. They also found HPPA forms that shouldn’t be needed unless Hagopian was giving exams. They also found business cards that noted “under new management.” He told Detectives that was a “fib” to trick Fox 6 if they came back. A sheriff’s department spokesman told us that detectives referred criminal charges to the District Attorney’s Office in March of 2020.

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Criminal Charges

Initial Appearance from 4/21/2021

Today, April 21, 2021, Hagopian was charged with:

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Practice of Optometry Without a License

Misdemeanor Theft, and

Obstructing an Officer

Hagopian made the prosecutor read all 6 pages of the complaint out loud and got chastised by the court commissioner many times throughout the hearing. Notably missing from today’s hearing was the victim, Jill Gillmore. Under Marcy’s Law, she was supposed to be given notice of this hearing and given the opportunity to address the court.

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He faces a total of almost two years behind bars and fines of up to $20,200. He is due back in court on May 28. He has been convicted twice of domestic violence/abuse. Believe it or not, Michael Graveley’s office dismissed a felony count of Strangulation and Suffocation in 2012 against Hagopian.

Why did the DA wait more than a year to charge Hagopian this time?

The Victim

Jill Gillmore, mother of 7, and former County Board Supervisor (Submitted photo)

We reached out to Mrs. Gillmore to get comments on Hagopian’s charges. We absolutely caught her by surprise. She had no idea that he had been charged. The court commissioner also ordered Hagopian to avoid contact with Gillmore as a part of his bond. She was not notified of the hearing or given her constitutional right to be heard on bond today.

We asked DA Michael Graveley why she wasn’t contacted and we were told “The victim was contacted yesterday and had a generic voicemail. In those instances we leave a generic message to call our office instead of leaving court information on someone’s voicemail. Had the victim contacted our office back, she would have been provided with the court information for the initial appearance.” Gillmore told us that was a lie. Her voicemail isn’t generic and she received no call or voicemail. The KCE knows that victims are always notified in writing.

Kenosha DA Mike Graveley

The DA’s office admitted to violating Marcy’s Law which was an amendment to the State of Wisconsin Constitution giving victims more rights. The constitution says that victims of crimes have the right to, among other things:

“reasonable and timely notification of proceedings”

“be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement, or pardon”

Neither of these were afforded to Gillmore. Gillmore released to us the following statement:

“As long as it has taken the state of Wisconsin and the DA’s office to to bring charges against Mr. Hagopian is how much time I have had to forgive him and move on with my life. My hope is that he chooses to change his life and become a good person. Maybe the charges against him will deter him from harming and deceiving anyone else in our amazing community. I hold no grudge against him but only hope he comes out a changed person”

Gillmore, who wears many hats in the community, may be quick to forgive and forget, but Hagopian needs to be vigorously prosecuted. He finally has to answer for a crime spree that was 6 years in the running.

Click here to read the entire criminal complaint.

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4 Responses

  1. Some people just do not learn. It’s unfortunate that many people had to be hurt along the way. Thankfully the DA’s office has finally taken action to help prevent him from continuing this terrible fraud against the community.

  2. I remember his shady practice when it was located on HWY 50 near silver lake. Around 2007. I went there because I needed contacts and his “practice” was the closest location covered by my insurance. I showed up for the appointment and nobody was there. No receptionist, nothing. I called and he said he was on his way. He arrived and unlocked the place which I thought was weird. It looked like a man cave like office. He did the full eye exam in the back room. I then ordered a year worth of contacts. He took them all out of the boxes and rubber banded them together. I told him I want the boxes because of the rebate and he said I’m not eligible for the rebates because of his discounts he was already giving me. I wasn’t too happy about it and knew it was shady. He made me sign a consent to promise to return the next year in order to receive a deeper discount. Again, shady. I knew I would never return. I should have reported it back then, but I was young, naive, and just wanted my contacts. He has been guilty of this fraud for a lot longer than the said 6 years.

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