Stopping Employee Embezzlement – CEDR HR Solutions

Just the other day, I got a call about a suspected employee embezzlement situation, in which a doctor had just discovered that $5,000 in cash was missing. Now, seven days later, the amount missing has turned out to be more like $80,000 – so I decided I’d write this quick missive.

My expertise in counseling our members on how to detect and deal with embezzlement is the unfortunate result of past and present personal experience. For many years, I owned a business in an industry where employee theft is common. The restaurant and bar industry is fraught with ways in which people can take money outright and/or give stuff away until it’s damn near impossible to make a decent living. Much closer to the present, as I began to work with dentists and medical professionals about eight years ago, it didn’t take long to recognize the same familiar patterns in our industry.

Currently, our team takes about one call per week that involves some sort of theft. The flavors include:

  • Insurance theft;
  • Precious metals;
  • Cash;
  • Supplies;
  • Time;
  • and Payroll.

Now, preventing someone who is determined to steal from stealing from you is almost impossible. The trick is to detect the theft and make it stop. So the key to prevention is really detection, which prevents them from continuing to steal. I know! Seems bass-ackwards.

There’s a difference between detection and immediate revelation, though. Far too many of the calls that come in to us go along these lines: “I discovered there is a problem, we asked the employee about it, and they denied it.” Or, “When we started asking questions, the employee figured out they might be in trouble, so now they know there is a problem.” Once you figure out that there is something going on, consider, whenever possible, running your initial investigation in secret, without letting the cat out of the bag.

Cats in Bags: Your Best Offense!

I know, there is nothing more upsetting than to realize you are being embezzled from. And I also know that the need to vent and to let someone, anyone, know that you are not an easy mark is tempting! But when you let the cat of the bag too soon or handle other aspects of the investigation improperly, you miss out on all kinds of opportunities to figure out exactly how much is missing, exactly how the employee is stealing, and on the possibility of catching them in the act.

Controls, whatever form they might take, may in some ways prevent or deter theft and embezzlement. But I have to tell you, short of locking your business behind a bulletproof window and exercising constant and extraordinary effort and expense, it is damn near impossible to stop or prevent someone who wants to steal, from stealing. They will find a way. And so detection, and the ability to swiftly react, stop, and possibly convict the thief, is the key. And if some of the preventive measures you adopt makes it that much easier to detect and ferret out the theft and the person committing it, all the better!

What Can You Do to Catch the Thief?

It is not always possible to keep your suspicions and investigation secret, but if you can, here’s what you gain. You may be able to shadow the employee’s activity in a number of ways that could pay off big in the long run. And in many instances, while you are following them down the twisty path to their bear-hole, they will lead you to ways in which they are stealing that you might have never figured out. We call that the honey pot.

By the way, almost every investigation starts with: “There seems to be a problem and a few dollars have gone missing.” They all too often end with tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars missing.

There’s another common factor, as well: the question, “How could this employee ever imagine they would not get caught one day?” The secret, as told to me by David Harris of Prosperident, a leading fraud investigator in the dental industry, is that the money is often just a payoff, a reward that takes second seat to the rush of taking something and not getting caught.

Knowledge is powerful. Armed with enough facts, you may be able to recover some or all of the missing funds.

And keep in mind that NO embezzler I’ve come in contact with has ever confessed right out of the gate. Even faced with no other possible explanation, they have stuck to their guns and denied they had anything to do with it. It’s as if they’re all pathological liars, too. Imagine that.

paul edwards

Paul Edwards has over 25 years’ experience as a manager and owner. As CEO and Co-Founder of CEDR HR Solutions, Paul is an expert in human resources. His employment litigation avoidance techniques and customized employee handbooks have helped hundreds of medical and dental offices in all 50 states successfully solve employee issues. He is also a featured writer for various dental and medical magazines.

About Paul Edwards


Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Content retrieved from Stopping Employee Embezzlement – CEDR HR Solutions

The Truth About Embezzlement – Orthodontic Products


By Laurel Petriello

Building a successful orthodontic practice is no small feat. It takes unwavering commitment, good marketing skills, smart business sense, and a dedicated support staff. Turning a profit is key to the future of any fee-for-service practice, and maintaining an influx of referrals should leave any practitioner resting easy.

David Harris, CEO of Prosperident dental embezzlement experts, argues that being on top may have its challenges, too. According to Harris, three in five dentists will be the victims of embezzlement at some point in their careers, and those who remain present in their operations stand a better chance of intercepting fraud before it begins.

“Embezzlement is not a crime of opportunity,” Harris says. “It happens when a staff member believes they have a stronger right to the doctor’s money than the doctor. We see a lot of intricate planning in this field, as well as very bright people embezzling.”

And with no rhyme or reason as to which practices will be affected or which will not, Harris says fraud has far more to do with the staff than the office. He breaks down the pattern of thieves into two categories: “the needy and the greedy.”

“The ‘needy’ have their backs against the wall financially, and something happening in their lives is threatening their basic needs,” he states. “Under pressure, ethics become situational.”

As for the “greedy,” they are entitled individuals. “They’re smart, and they sit and wait for society to reward their talents,” Harris continues. “When that fails, they take matters into their own hands. Stealing and spending money on luxury items is a way of showcasing their talents.”

Statistically, most orthodontic-practice embezzlers are women, due largely in part to that fact that women make up the overwhelming majority of administrative staff in any given practice. The offenders have typically spent 5 or more years in the office, and, at their time of hire, had no intention of stealing from their employer.

However, once they have built a relationship with the doctor over time, they often consider themselves to be his or her intellectual peer. It is at that point when the embezzler becomes resentful of the discrepancy in income and fraud begins. Shockingly, the average offender steals more than $150,000 and is embezzling for 2 to 3 years before they are caught.

In order to control potential fraud in a practice, Harris suggests orthodontists pay attention to employee behavior.

“Thieves are often reluctant to take a vacation; they resist software upgrades; and they tend to be very territorial—they don’t want to cross-train in their duties or allow others to help in their workspace. They need control over their environments.”

If an orthodontist suspects fraud, Harris urges censorship. “Stealth is important because thieves will self-preserve if they suspect they have been discovered. The key is to try to preserve evidence.”

He suggests any practitioner who notices symptoms of embezzlement seek the help of an expert. And while chasing a thief usually tends to be unproductive as stolen funds are often spent, most practices can rely on employee dishonesty insurance coverage and seeking to recover funds from banks.

“When you see symptoms of embezzlement, react decisively,” Harris states. “Deal with it, and don’t ignore the symptoms. It just might be real.” OP


Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Content retrieved from The Truth About Embezzlement – Orthodontic Products

Don’t Underestimate the Embezzler by David Harris, MBA CMA, CFE, and Pat Little, DDS, FAGD CFE – Orthotown


As investigators, one thing we encounter every time we speak to a group of orthodontists is that, in the area of embezzlement, they consistently underestimate the capabilities of their opponents. The most common question asked of us is, “Will this control/procedure/auditing step work?” followed by some procedural change that the questioner intends to implement. Normally, this change is designed to block a specific embezzlement method.

For example, one question recently asked in a presentation was whether using a “lockbox” system, where all mail gets delivered to a third party (which then opens the mail and inventories the contents), would prevent embezzlement.

This question is an example of denial of opportunity strategies for controlling embezzlement because its goal is to block a specific embezzlement pathway.

While we don’t think that strategies of this type are necessarily bad ideas, we do believe that their effectiveness in controlling embezzlement is overestimated.

Why do people steal?

Let’s start by debunking one of the myths about orthodontic office embezzlement. Many orthodontists believe that embezzlement occurs as a result of mistakes in hiring and/or poor background checking. Serial embezzlers (i.e., those who have stolen from other offices before) definitely exist, but they account for less than 15 percent of our investigations. The vast majority of our perpetrators have no criminal record and no adverse work history. However, some pressure has caused this person to begin stealing.

In some cases, that pressure is from financial desperation. Various factors can make someone’s financial position unworkable. It could be addiction, divorce or a spouse losing a job. These people, who we label the “needy,” steal to preserve the basic needs of their family.

We call the second group the “greedy.” These thieves tend to be bright, and viewed objectively, are somewhat underemployed in your office. It is common for them to consider themselves (sometimes justifiably) as your intellectual equal, and therefore the perceived income discrepancy between the two of you seems unfair. Of course, in this simplistic comparison, they fail to consider the educational differences and/or sacrifices that you made to achieve your position. Their social circle tends to include people who are better off financially. Money that is stolen is often spent on conspicuous displays of affluence.

Whether they are needy or greedy, embezzlers are responding to some powerful pressures. A motivated thief who possesses an intimate knowledge of your procedures and how you think is a truly dangerous opponent, and one who is unlikely to be deterred simply because you have blocked some, but not all, options for stealing.

Embezzlement vs. controls

Let’s revisit the denial of opportunity strategies and see how they might withstand assault from a determined, knowledgeable thief. We should mention that it is our policy not to discuss specific embezzlement methodologies in articles, so as not to provide information that may aid thieves. In order to protect orthodontists, we will confine ourselves to a general discussion of how a thief will overcome controls.

First, any control or procedure that is dependent on implementation by a staff member is doomed. For example, many orthodontists have a policy that incoming checks are to be stamped “for deposit only” in the hope of stopping an embezzler from cashing them.

The flaw in this logic is that we shouldn’t expect an embezzler to stamp the back of any checks that he or she plans to steal. So unless the orthodontist personally stamps every check, this control is useless against embezzlement. And as we have pointed out, stamping the checks personally won’t accomplish anything unless you also personally receive, open and keep complete custody of the mail until the checks are stamped. And even if you do all those things yourself (which might make you wonder why you even have a receptionist at all) this may not fix the problem—we have seen many creative thieves find a way to redirect a portion of the incoming checks to a different address to escape the orthodontist’s control.

We have also been told by some orthodontists that embezzlement isn’t possible in their office because they diligently check their day-end report against the bank deposit. We disagree, as do many embezzlers. We do believe that every practice owner should review the day-end report, because he or she will sometimes catch honest errors and because it is a good way to monitor practice performance. However, any embezzler who knows that the doctor compares the day-sheet against the deposit will not steal in a way that leaves a visible discrepancy; the thief will instead construct a method of embezzling funds that somehow hides the out-of-balance situation. And while (again) we won’t discuss specifics, a number of possibilities exist for creating a situation where money is stolen but the day-sheet and deposit agree. While we certainly agree that a “deposit shortfall” is indicative of a problem, the reverse isn’t true.

Many orthodontists tend to view their day-end report—especially if they have checked it against their appointment book—as gospel, and they don’t consider that thieves normally control what information gets entered into the practice management software in the first place.

Regrettably, there are hundreds of ways to steal from a practice. For internal controls to be effective there would have to be a control to stop each embezzlement methodology an employee could use. This is impractical from both an economic and procedural perspective. Additionally, most implemented internal controls are already known to the thief and can be discreetly “tested” for effectiveness.

We must also consider that embezzlers are adaptive to any new controls that are implemented. We have had numerous cases where a doctor, suspicious that an employee might be stealing, implemented additional internal controls. Typically, the suspect quickly adapted and began using a different embezzlement modality. This points both to the cleverness of the thieves involved and the strength of their compulsion.

Why ethics and best practices are important

A common thread in many embezzlement lectures and articles is that it is paramount for orthodontists to behave in an ethical manner and institute best-practice procedures. We concur. However, the prevailing thought is that engaging in ethical behavior will instill ethical behavior in staff and therefore discourage embezzlement. This is where we disagree. As already discussed, whether embezzlers are “needy” or “greedy,” they are under intense pressure to commit their crimes. Once they decide to steal, the fact that you are behaving ethically might make them feel guiltier about their crime, but your behavior isn’t strong enough to compete with their need to steal.

Why do we stress that orthodontists should behave ethically? Most important, it is simply the right thing to do. Second, for your staff members who are not embezzling, your ethical behavior will set an example to follow. For the embezzler, however, we consider ethical behavior vital for a simple reason: You don’t want to issue a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

When embezzlers know their doctor has been engaging in unethical behavior or hasn’t instituted best-practice procedures, they have a powerful weapon at their disposal. One of the most frustrating aspects of our work occurs when we detect embezzlement, but the doctor is in no position to file a criminal or civil complaint because the embezzler has information that can literally make the doctor’s life miserable.

Some examples could include skimming cash that isn’t reported to the IRS, up-coding procedures, filing fraudulent insurance claims, improperly delegating duties to clinical staff, OSHA and HIPAA violations, or having an inappropriate relationship with a staff member.

By avoiding ethical lapses, doctors are better positioned to take action against an embezzler (or any other staff member who commits a crime against the practice). Imagine the consequences of allowing an embezzling staff member to walk freely out of your office—and then go to work for another doctor.

Regrettably, we encounter this more often than we like. So clearly, it is paramount to act ethically and maintain best practices not only because it is the right thing to do, but because doctors need to have all options available if embezzlement is detected in their practices.

The honesty test

Another recommendation we occasionally hear is to go “undercover” and place some extra cash in the cash drawer or other location where a suspect will discover it. The presumption is that if the cash disappears, the employee is dishonest. While we agree that if the cash overage is not reported to you it means that you have an issue, the reverse is probably not true.

We have observed that the typical embezzler steals somewhere between two percent to four percent of collections. So for a thief who is stealing thousands of dollars from you on a monthly basis and finds an errant $50 in the cash drawer, what is the best investment he or she can make with the $50? It’s to hand it back to you, with the predictable result that you will then believe that you have a very honest employee. This gives the employee freedom to continue to embezzle—often with greater magnitude than before the supposed “honesty test” was conducted.

Another tool we sometimes see advocated as a means of preventing embezzlement is to install surveillance cameras. There are two problems with this.

First, cameras are best suited for monitoring events where the time of occurrence can be closely determined. For example, if a computer monitor disappears when the front desk is left unattended for a minute, cameras are valuable, because the video from that time can be examined.

In contrast, embezzlement can happen at any time, and the amount of camera footage that would need to be monitored to discover it would be huge.

Second, since a thief would normally know that cameras are in use, only the dumbest of thieves would commit a visibly dishonest act on camera anyway. While we have heard of the occasional practice embezzler being caught on film, it hasn’t happened in any of our investigations.

What does work?

So if thieves are smart, aware of the control systems in place and motivated, how do you stop them? The answer is far simpler than many orthodontists think. Research by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners suggests that more than 80 percent of embezzlers act in a manner consistent with stealing.1 This is affirmed by a 2007 study conducted by the American Dental Association that showed more than two-thirds of embezzlement was revealed by behavioral (as opposed to financial) inconsistencies.2

Behavioral signs of embezzlement include things like a reluctance to take a vacation, territoriality about job duties and workspace, resisting the involvement of consultants or other advisers, and evasiveness when discussing practice finances.

And the good news? Behavioral monitoring is easier and far less time-consuming than overinvesting time and money in cameras and financial monitoring.

We believe that underestimation of the determination and capabilities of embezzlers is a major contributing factor to high incidents of embezzlement. But orthodontists do not have to accept embezzlement as a cost of doing business. Awareness and using existing tools to motivate employees, monitor behavior and keep an eye open for fraud can help you take the first steps toward preventing—or fixing—the problem.


  1. “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse: 2012 Global Fraud Study,” Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Austin TX,
  2. Author’s reanalysis of “2007 Survey of Current Issues in Dentistry: Employee Termination and Embezzlement,” American Dental Association, Chicago, IL


David Harris, MBA, CMA, CFE, is the chief executive officer of Prosperident, the world’s largest dental embezzlement investigation firm. Pat Little, DDS, FAGD, CFE, is a Senior Fraud Examiner with Prosperident. The company is consulted on hundreds of embezzlement matters annually. Find out more at, or contact Prosperident at 888-398-2327. Mr. Harris can be reached at and Dr. Little at

Content retrieved from Don’t Underestimate the Embezzler by David Harris, MBA CMA, CFE, and Pat Little, DDS, FAGD CFE – Orthotown

David Harris: Are you employing criminals? – The Relentless Dentist

relentless dentist

Quotes & Notes:

  • We [Prosperident] are the biggest at what we do, which is investigadavid1ting embezzlement in dental offices.
  • By embezzlement, we mean staff stealing from dentists, and it could take various forms.  It could be direct in the sense of stealing checks payable to the doctor from insurance companies or it could be indirect like, to give a frightening example, somebody with a little bit of clinical background bringing somebody into your office after hours and doing dental work on them.
  • If I had to give you an educated guess, I’d say that for a practicing dentist, there’s about an 80% probability that at some point in their career they will be embezzled.
  • The average amount that we see stolen from a dentist in an embezzlement matter is about $110,000.
  • There are broadly speaking two ways to steal from you, one is force you to pay out money that you weren’t planning on paying out. And the other way is to intercept money that is coming in from patients and insurance companies.
  • If you look at the basic anatomy of stealing, there is the act of stealing and then there is the act of concealment afterward.  When we investigate, it is the concealment that we are generally looking for.
  • What we have to focus on instead is what we can do to increase detection?
  • Who among your employees is displaying an attitude that would suggest to you that it would be relatively easy for them to get to the point of saying that stealing is ok? Do they resent your success? Do they covet your possessions and your lifestyle? Do they over-empathize with patients with financial issues?

They are stealing because they want to, and it is an ego thing. We did an investigation that we wrapped up last year. There was somebody stealing from an office. She was stealing and then she won 3 million dollars in the state lotto.  And after that she kept stealing.

  • One of the most common comments we get from doctors is, “That is the last person I would expect to embezzle.”
  • If you break the rules, if you take cash payments and don’t report them to the IRS, if you cut insurance corners, what you’ve done effectively is hand any embezzler in your office a get out of jail free card.
  • Your practice should have an entry alarm.
  • Use your practice management software properly. For example everyone should be using their own unique ID, with their own password, and you should enable the feature that enforces everybody to change their password every so often.
  • We have a checklist called the Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire. And it is designed to systematically take a dentist through looking at staff behavior.
  • Whatever you do, don’t let them know you suspect.
  • Unfortunately going to your CPA firm in general is a waste of money to solve this money.
  • We need to vigilant, but at the same time I don’t think that automatic mistrust of employees is the right plan either.

If you want to learn more or get the Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire, you can go to, or email David Harris at Questions for the questionnaire go to requests@dentalembezzlement.comIf you prefer to call them, their toll-free number is 888-398-2327.


Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Content retrieved from David Harris: Are you employing criminals? – The Relentless Dentist

How To Avoid Losing $109,000 In Your Dental Practice

In 1989, David Harris started investigating embezzlement in dental practices…

… And by 1990, computers took over and brought stealing a ‘click’ away.

Since them, the numbers have kept climbing.

From paying utility bills, to dipping in the ‘gold jar’, David has seen it all.

I was taken back by this conversation and couldn’t wait for you guys to give it a listen.

Click here to get today’s bonus: Checklist – How To Avoid Embezzlement In Your Practice

Here’s a bit more about David Harris:

Overcoming a troubled adolescence, David Harris has become the world’s leading expert on dental office embezzlement.

He is the CEO of Prosperident, the world’s largest dental embezzlement investigation firm. Prosperident’s team of specialized investigators is consulted on hundreds of frauds annually committed against both general dentists and dental specialists. David has had the distinct pleasure of hearing cell doors slam shut on many embezzlers.

David is a licensed private investigator with a graduate degree in applied mathematics and a CPA. David is “dual certified” in fraud investigation – he possesses both the Certified Fraud Examiner designation from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the Certified in Financial Forensics designation from the American Institute of CPAs.

David is a Mensa member and belongs to several organizations for dental consultants and speakers.

David has been interviewed on the subject of embezzlement by many leading dental publications and organizations. He is also a prolific writer and authors or co-authors a dozen or more articles annually that appear in major dental publications.

David has lectured at several US and Canadian universities in the faculties of business, law and dentistry.

David has spoken at regional, national and international dental conferences.

He is a highly entertaining and engaging speaker who draws on a vast amount of experience in his field.

Here’s more of what you’re going to get in today’s episode:

  • 3 types of organizations that are most vulnerable for embezzlement
  • What made the numbers in embezzlement climb higher than ever before
  • Why embezzlement doesn’t just mean stolen cash from your office
  • The mental shift that happens during a buyout transition that can cause embezzlement to start happening in your practice
  • The number 1 price of advice David would give to a new office that’s just starting to hire team members
  • Why most dentists don’t enjoy the hiring process and what happens after a new hire joins that you NEED to avoid
  • How to properly run a background check on new employees (and why you may not want to had t the process off to an online service)
  • Why it doesn’t mean that someone is “hireable” just because a background check comes back as clean
  • What things won’t appear on a typical background check that you need to be aware of
  • Why you should never bother calling persona references
  • The ONE kind of reference that’s actually valuable
  • Why you shouldn’t ever call listed reference numbers on a resume
  • A trick a potential new hire used that could negate your reference check process (truth is stranger than fiction)
  • What questions to ask when you get former employers on the phone for a reference check
  • The ONE question you CANT get wrong when asking a reference about a previous employee
  • How to properly ask cross-references for dates of employment
  • What to do if you’re buying a new practice
  • The legal impediments you can run into during a background check (and why you’ll want to see legal advice during this process)
  • The two pieces of advice David would give to someone taking over another practice
  • How a dentist may embezzle another dentist
  • How to protect yourself when buying into an existing practice
  • Why, when information in an appraisal is present, it doesn’t make it true
  • Why most doctors don’t want to pay COA’s to do their due silliness
  • What “concealment” is and where it usually happens
  • What most practicing dentists misunderstand about embezzlement
  • Which category of employee does more embezzlement: New hires or existing employees?
  • The biggest mistake dental practices owners make (especially first-time owners)
  • The way thieves act when they’re stealing from you
  • The behavior of someone who’s embezzling from your office
  • When most stealing is done from dental practices
  • The biggest embezzlement David ever saw that resulted in over $600,000 in stolen funds
  • Why dentists get stolen from frequently
  • Why David would describe most dentists as perfectionists
  • What an embezzler will promise you that enables them the ability to steal from your practice

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Content retrieved from How To Avoid Losing $109,000 In Your Dental Practice

019: David Harris – Are Criminals Running Your Practice? – Dental Success Institute Blog


Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Welcome to another episode of The Dentalpreneur Podcast. On today’s show we are talking about an incredibly unfortunate, but common occurrence in the dental practice – embezzlement.

Joining us to share his wisdom and experience in this area is David Harris, CEO and founder of Prosperident-The Dental Fraud Experts. As the world’s leading expert on dental office embezzlement, David is also a Certified Fraud Examiner and a licensed Private Investigator. After David left his job as an investigator for a bank, he was asked by a friend that had a dental practice to investigate a possible situation of fraud. David soon discovered there was in fact a case of embezzlement occurring at his friend’s office. In a strange twist of fate, David later discovered the same person that committed the fraud working in yet another dentist’s office. From that experience David determined that there was a huge demand for specialist that investigated fraud specifically in dental practices. As disturbing as it might sound, some experts estimate that fraud occurs in as much as 70% of dental practices. Published numbers indicate that the likelihood of a dental practice falling victim to embezzlement in more than 50%.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • The warning signs to be aware of if you suspect embezzlement
  • The characteristics of the ideal investigator
  • The tell-tale behaviors and habits of an embezzler
  • The primary reason that a person begins embezzling
  • The high tech techniques used to identify, outsmart and prosecute thieves working in your office
  • What can you do if you do catch someone embezzling
  • Some of the quick and easy methods to find out if you are at risk for embezzlement

Special thanks to David Harris for sharing his unique knowledge and expertise on today’s show, and thanks to you for joining us as well. See you next time on The Dentalpreneur podcast.


Content retrieved from 019: David Harris – Are Criminals Running Your Practice? – Dental Success Institute Blog

007: Wendy Askins – How to Identify and Deal with Dental Embezzlement in Your Office – Dental Success Institute Blog

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to


Welcome to another episode of The Dentalpreneur. On today’s show we are talking with Wendy Askins. Wendy is the senior investigator at the world’s largest dental embezzlement firm, Prosperident. Wendy has over 25 years experience in the dental field, has an MBA, and degrees in physiology and criminology. This makes her uniquely qualified for her field.

All of that and more on today’s episode of The Dentalpreneur.

More About This Show:

Wendy explains on this episode that 25 years ago she got started in the dental field because she needed a job. As fate would have it early in her career, she worked at an office that was being embezzled from. Seeing the disaster that happened in her own office helped push Wendy into this career as a Dental Embezzlement Investigator.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How to spot an embezzler
  • Steps to take to minimize your risk of being preyed upon by an embezzler
  • Signs that someone on your team is actually stealing from you
  • How dental embezzlement is more common than you think, the ADA, in 2004, put the numbers around 65% of offices are embezzled from but after Wendy went to her records she believes the number is actually closer to 80%

Wendy goes into detail on this episode about:

When a practice owner suspects embezzlement, Wendy and the team at Prosperident are called in. The team at Prosperident then signs into the dental software and run a series of tests. These tests are run off-site at Prosperident headquarters. Neither Wendy, nor the staff at Prosperident, ever meet any of the suspected employees. This allows the investigators to focus solely on the information that the office provides through its program. This allows unbiased results.

After reviewing the information she receives, Wendy is then able to confirm or deny embezzlement in the office.

If Wendy is unable to find embezzlement in the office she then runs a report of areas that need clean up. This makes it difficult for embezzlement to happen in the future.

If Wendy is able to confirm embezzlement however, she then helps the owner take the proper steps and legal action to get rid of the embezzler.

Wendy cautions that there is a very specific process that must be followed to guarantee that the embezzler cannot come back and file legal actions against the owner. The Prosperident team can then help practice owners file charges against the embezzler if they choose.

She warns that is it required to file charges to alert anyone, including potential employers of the embezzler, that he/she stole from the company. If charges are not filed, owners may only disclose that the embezzler was an employee and would NEVER be hired again. She goes on to say that many dentists have riders in their insurance that they are unaware of that covers some of the losses they incur from embezzlement. Wendy and her team can help take practice owners through that process as well.

Wendy’s Red Flags of Employee Behavior:

  • They may look like your best employee. They stay late and come in early and never take a vacation. Wendy states they do this because they need to always be there to dissolve potential situations, and they also need to be there when no one else is around to see what they do.
  • Wendy states that the best way to weed out the embezzlers from the great employees is when there are questions about payments owners should ask them to explain the transactions. An honest employee will know the answer or go find it right away, and an embezzler will say I am not sure and avoid and dodge the subject.

Tips to Protect You from Embezzlement:

  • Pay attention to employee’s behaviors. Prosperident has a 31 question, questionnaire that is very telling of an employee’s potential for embezzlement
  • Reject the idea embezzlement that embezzlement can be prevented. The fact is if an employee wants to steal, they will.
  • Look at deleted payments at least once a month or once every other month
  • Do a payment method analysis of the last five years for cash vs. collections. It should vary from 1-2%. If there is a huge drop that is a sign of embezzlement
  • Do reconciliation between bank accounts, dental software, and accounting software

Thanks to Wendy Askins for the great information in this episode. As always thanks for joining us. See you next time on The Dentalpreneur Podcast.


Content retrieved from 007: Wendy Askins – How to Identify and Deal with Dental Embezzlement in Your Office – Dental Success Institute Blog

CDA Oasis Conversations: Embezzlement in the dental office with David Harris – Oasis Discussions

cda oasis

David Harris, CEO Prosperident, spoke with Dr. Suham Alexander about embezzlement in the dental office.

Watch the video interview


Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Content retrieved from CDA Oasis Conversations: Embezzlement in the dental office with David Harris – Oasis Discussions

Are You Being Embezzled with David Harris — Dr. Anissa Holmes


David Harris is a Private investigator, CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner David Harris is the world’s leading authority on embezzlement in dental offices. In today’s episode, David shares the warning signs that dentists can look out for that might indicate that they have a problem. We also discussed what should dentists do once they feel that they are being embezzled as well as recommendations that dentists can take once the embezzlement is confirmed.


Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to

Content retrieved from Are You Being Embezzled with David Harris — Dr. Anissa Holmes