After a divorce in 2003 — his wife accused him of adultery and abandonment — he moved to another part of the town and remarried.
The American Board of Family Medicine certified Dando in 1997, and he held the distinction until Maryland officials suspended his license in June. That board does not conduct its own background checks, instead relying on the seals of approval of residency programs and state licensing boards. The family medicine board requires doctors to participate in ongoing educational activities and pass an all-day written exam once every 10 years, as well as have an unrestricted and active medical license.
Some patients said he never raised concern.
"He was always very courteous and very nice," said Anna Mae Stuples, whose daughter had been a patient of Dando's for a decade when she suggested her mother see him. Referring to revelations about his past and the recent accusations, she added, "It seems like they're talking about somebody else."
Others who knew Dando described him as a bohemian free spirit.
Mary Mitchell, a neighbor on Harbor Wood Road, where Dando lived with his second wife, said parties held at his home were rowdy. "It just got out of hand. It was 2 a.m. and it was like you were down at the harbor at a concert at Pier Six."
Before long, trouble surfaced for Dando.
In 2009, the Maryland Board of Physicians charged him with failing to meet proper standards of medical care and failing to keep adequate medical records. Its investigation revealed missteps involving seven patients. For one, medical investigators said, he repeatedly wrote prescriptions for Xanax, a commonly abused anti-anxiety drug, even as the patient suffered seizures and became suicidal while on the medication. His license was placed on probation in April 2010.
Dando maintained his board certification even while on probation because the sanctions did not violate the board's policies, said Robert Cattoi, spokesman for the American Board of Family Medicine.
About that time, one of Dando's patients died of a prescription drug overdose, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit the woman's family filed against him in 2013. The lawsuit alleges that Dando began prescribing narcotics including Percocet and oxycodone to the Dundalk woman, Grace Elliot, in 2003, and continued through at least 2009 despite concerns from her and her family that she was addicted to the drugs. Early in her treatment, in August 2003, Elliot wrote Dando a letter saying she "just can't stop this medication," the lawsuit said.
Dando denied responsibility in a court filing. The trial, twice postponed, is now scheduled for June 2015.
Dando had meanwhile been contracted to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings for the Baltimore County Health Department from 2001 to 2004 and again from 2008 to 2010, but the relationship was terminated when officials learned that his license was on probation, according to state health officials.
Patients and neighbors said they noticed changes in Dando amid the turmoil.
"We thought a lot of him, but at the same time he was getting a little too liberal with some of the medicines he was giving me," said patient Missy Blucher. She said he prescribed as much as 40 milligrams of Valium each day for her post-traumatic stress disorder, and told her he gave other patients more. Typical daily dosages can range from 4 milligrams to 40 milligrams, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
In 2011, Dando began expanding his business into cosmetic procedures, but the Catonsville practice didn't last much longer. Around March 2013, he told his staff the office was closing. English, the medical assistant, said the move didn't surprise her, given signs the business was struggling. Patients said there were frequent insurance billing problems.
Dando filed for personal bankruptcy in October, listing $2.1 million in liabilities — including potential damages from the wrongful-death lawsuit of $1 million or more. Among his $742,000 in assets was the Harbor Wood Road home, a home in Western Maryland and a timeshare at a Marriott resort in Aruba. A bankruptcy judge discharged the case in February, releasing Dando from his debts. Medical equipment, including two laser machines, was sold in an online auction in March that netted $32,000.
A new job at MedExpress in LaVale offered a fresh start for Dando last year. The company had expanded rapidly, growing from locations in four states in 2011 to nearly a dozen states this year. As part of its hiring process, it contracted with a third party to conduct background checks of Dando and all employees — a system it is scrutinizing to see where improvements can be made, spokeswoman Kelly Sorice said.
But less than a year after Dando's hire, the company said it fired him when a woman told police he performed a pelvic exam behind a locked door, without a female chaperone present. She was visiting the facility over concerns of an ear infection, Delaney, the woman's lawyer, said. Dando examined the woman without wearing gloves, asking her "if it hurt or felt good," she told investigators, according to a Board of Physicians order suspending Dando's medical license in June.
The board investigation revealed in June that another woman had complained Dando touched her inappropriately. Last month, a third woman made similar allegations in a lawsuit filed in Allegany County Circuit Court.
Soon, state health leaders expect to recommend policy changes designed to close loopholes that allowed Dando to continue practicing medicine in Maryland despite a conviction and serious claims of misconduct. Health officials will likely recommend that background checks occur at the time a physician is licensed and at some intervals thereafter, said Singh, chairman of the physicians board and a plastic surgeon at University of Maryland Medical Center.