Occasionally, a dentist who called us with embezzlement concerns subsequently tells us that, because the suspected staff member has now quit or been fired, the dentist believes that the “door is closed” on this matter, and no further action is required.
Are they right about this?
In a word — NO!
It’s dangerous to think that nothing further needs to be done because the employee about who you were concerned has left. Here is why:
- Whatever weaknesses in your systems were exploited by the embezzler still exist, and are available to the next larcenous employee. By not having an investigation, you lose the chance to learn from being embezzled.
- It is always possible that you were right about being embezzled, but had misidentified the perpetrator. In this case, you still have a thief in your office, but believe that the problem has solved itself. Complacency is the IDEAL climate for embezzlement.
- There are two ways for an embezzler to steal — many embezzlers steal from you; lots also use your practice to steal from insurance companies. While you are within your rights to decide to walk away from the former, failing to identify and address money stolen from insurance companies (stolen using your name) tends to migrate you in the eyes of the insurance companies from co-victim to perpetrator. And I probably don’t need to explain why having a large company with deep pockets and little tolerance for fraud mad at you is a bad idea.
- By not pursuing an investigation, you abandon the possibility of financial recovery. While less than 10% of our clients make a full recovery of all that was stolen from them, almost all get at least SOME money back. Sometimes this recovery comes from thieves (either voluntarily or ordered by a court). Most dentists also have insurance for employee dishonesty that will recoup some of their losses (and may pay some, or all of our fees). Third, certain patterns of stealing may allow recovery from third parties like banks.
Our investigations are normally completed fairly quickly (typically taking eight weeks or less) and are done stealthily, so that practice staff do not know that an examination is taking place. Our work is affordably priced, and victims are normally able to obtain considerably more recovery from their insurance than what it costs to investigate.
The possibility of being an embezzlement victim is a very unpleasant one for most dentists, and the desire to have the problem simply disappear is an appealing one. However, ignoring the problem (or believing it has taken care of itself) can cost the practice financially and leave it exposed to considerable dangers.
If you think you have been an embezzlement victim, we are happy to have a no-obligation conversation with you about your options. To set up a time for us to chat, please click here .