Nova Scotia’s Judy Carter convicted of embezzling from prosthodontic practice

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

frank-magazine-judy-carter

Judy Carter of Dartmouth, NS was convicted of stealing from a three-dentist prosthodontic practice.  After being let go by that practice, she began working a Sears, where she again stole money.  She was convicted of embezzling from both places.

If my day-end report balances to my bank deposit, can I still be embezzled?

In a word, YES.

Many dentists believe that if the “daysheet” generated by their practice management software balances to their bank deposit, embezzlement is not happening in their practice.

Please don’t take us out of context — carefully checking the daysheet is something every dentist should do daily.  This recommendation is not based on the idea that it will catch embezzlement (it probably won’t), but it will help you spot data entry errors and other mistakes that can cost you money.

Dentists tend to believe that the daysheet is “right” because it comes from their computer, is nicely formatted, and is produced by a sophisticated practice management software. It is human nature to accept the veracity of documents that arrive in this way.  However, what these dentists are forgetting is that normally entry of transactions in the software and printing of this report are performed solely by staff.  With this kind of control, it is not difficult for a staff member to make the daysheet say whatever they want it to, and therefore make it balance to a bank deposit that has been reduced by embezzlement.  Thieves are both motivated and clever, and generally have little trouble finding a way to make the daysheet present an untrue picture.  (For a discussion of the creativity and determination of thieves, please see our article at https://www.prosperident.com/2016/11/29/squirrels-embezzlers-common/)

Because we do not want to enhance the tool kits of embezzlers, we won’t discuss specific methodologies for adulterating daysheets here, but we will mention that we see situations where daysheets have been “cooked” on a weekly basis.

Put slightly differently, if your bank deposit does not balance to your daysheet, you have an embezzlement issue.  However, the reverse is not true — the fact that these things balance may mean nothing more than that your embezzler knows how to add.

We should also mention that the task of determining whether these two things truly balance is a bit more complicated than it once was.  Deposited funds may arrive at the bank in many different ways (carried by you to the bank, deposited by check scanner, directly deposited by an insurance company or a patient financing company, deposited directly by your “merchant terminal” that accepts credit card payments etc), and some of them have a time delay compared to when they are recorded as received in your practice management software, a proper reconciliation requires more than the comparison of the funds being carried by the office to the bank, and normally can’t be fully completed until several days later (when the “delayed” funds have arrived).

So what should a busy dentist do?

We’d suggest starting with our Ten Great Monitoring Ideas at https://www.prosperident.com/2016/11/03/ten-great-monitoring-ideas/ (incidentally, one of the monitoring ideas is that you should print the daysheet yourself, and not rely on a staff member to do it for you.

A great tool for simplifying the balancing process is our Monthly Monitoring Spreadsheet.  Email us and ask for it, and we will be happy to provide a copy.

If you have embezzlement concerns for this or any other reason, we are happy to speak with you.  Call us at 888-398-2327, or email us at requests@dentalembezzlement.com, and we will be happy to help.

 

 

 

What Squirrels and Embezzlers Have In Common

David Harris
I was discussing embezzlement with my friend Rick Willeford a few months ago.  Rick is a CPA and engineer who founded DentaMetrix, a company that helps dentists and consultants make sense of their data.
Rick was analogizing embezzlement to, believe it or not, bird feeders. He told me that he was having trouble keeping squirrels away from his feeder.
When he tried to buy squirrel-proof bird feeders, Rick was told that they don’t exist. Rick asked the hardware store clerk why.
“How much time per day do you spend thinking about the problem you are having with squirrels eating your bird seed?” the clerk asked Rick. Rick acknowledged that it was less than 10 minutes. Next came the wisdom.  “Let’s consider this from the squirrel’s perspective”, the clerk said. “He want nothing more than to steal your birdseed. In fact, he thinks of nothing but that birdseed all day. Of course he is going to beat you!”
Watch what happens in this video:
Many dentists assume that their considerable intellectual prowess and lengthy education should give them an advantage over embezzlers. And yet we see less gifted thieves successfully embezzle for years, so the bird feeder parable is accurate. Thanks for the perspective, Rick!

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

Alabama Woman Arrested for Embezzling $54k From Orthodontist

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The Homewood Police Department received a complaint from a local Orthodontist regarding possible embezzlement by an employee. After a month’s long investigation by Homewood Police CID the case was presented to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s White Collar Crime Unit. On May 8, 2015 a felony warrant was issued for Susan Warmack Davis, W/F, age 61 of Homewood for the theft/embezzlement of $54770.00:

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

Content retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=945391528846073&id=167906173261283

 

Office manager for Tacoma WA doctors accused of taking $1 million-plus faces judgment

Eight Tacoma-area doctors have won a lawsuit against a longtime office manager they accused of taking more than $1 million.

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

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article25262419.html#storylink=cpy

Virginia Woman Charged for Embezzling Thousands from Employers

jennifertomlin

A woman is facing an embezzlement charge for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from two employers.

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office investigated 39-year-old Jennifer Tomlin after her employer, an unidentified dentist’s office near Waynesboro, reported she had opened a business credit card without the employer’s permission.

On investigating, deputies say they found evidence she had done the same thing at a previous employer.

She is charged with using company credit cards to make personal purchases and pay bills.

She is accused of taking about $20,000 combined from both employers.

Investigators think the embezzlement occurred for several years.

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

Content retrieved from: http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/Woman_Charged_for_Embezzling_Thousands_from_Employers_117433838.html

Ok — this is a bit ugly — Ex-Hospital COO Indicted In Dental Program Bribery Scheme

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The schemes described in a federal indictment against former MetroHealth executive Edward Hills and three former hospital dentists undertook were complex, intertwined and lasted for years.

They also involved about $250,000, much of which was taxpayer money. Meanwhile, Hills was being paid increasingly larger six-figure salaries for his work at the hospital system.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office laid out its accusations in a 93-page indictment unsealed Tuesday, following the arrest of Hills and dentists Sari Alqsous, Yazan Al-Madani and Tariq Sayegh. The charges say the men steered MetroHealth clients and resources toward their private businesses and forced prospective residents to pay them bribes in exchange for preferential treatment.

All four entered not-guilty pleas at their arraignments.

The case is the culmination of an investigation that lasted more than two years and was headed by the FBI and IRS. It involves a series of cooperating witnesses. Federal prosecutors have not said whether others will face charges.

Former MetroHealth System executive Edward Hills and three dentists were arrested Tuesday morning following a grand jury’s indictment in a racketeering and corruption case involving the hospital’s Department of Oral Health and Dentistry.

Below you will find the breakdowns of the schemes in which Hills, Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh are accused. All of the information is either based on the indictment or was verified through interviews and records.

Benefits to Hills and the dentists

Beginning in 2009, Alqsous, Al-Makani and others gave Hills bribes. They referred to the illegal payments as “thing,” “something,” “fundraisers” or “presents” and would try to tie them to Hills’ birthday or the holiday season, the indictment says.

Talk of bribes would often come while Hills, Alqsous and Al-Makani texted each other about making plans to go to upscale restaurants or, on at least one occasion, a strip club in Bedford, the indictment says.

In a series of messages, the indictment shows that Alqsous would text Hills and tell him that “got a little something for u” or “I told the guys about the fundraising …” The indictment says that after certain text exchanges, money would be deposited into Hills’ bank account.

In one text message, Alqsous tells Al-Madani and another dentist that “With 22nd of October approaching we ll be celebrating Dr hills bday earlier this year…1000 dollars each that is the gift from the 3 sons their father,” the indictment says.

Hills also accepted use of an apartment at Landmark Perry Payne in Cleveland’s Warehouse District. Alqsous rented the apartment and allowed Hills to use it with a woman with whom he had a relationship. Alqsous even purchased furniture after Hills made a request, according to the indictment.

He stated in a 2013 text to Hills that “I bought your bedroom yesterday … there is mirrors everywhere … you will like it,” the indictment says.

He also accepted airplane tickets for he and the woman, as well as prescriptions from Alqsous, according to the indictment.

When Hills took over as interim CEO of the hospital, he told Alqsous, Al-Madani and others that he wanted a Louis Vuitton briefcase because his predecessor had a similar briefcase. The dentists bought him one at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beachwood for $3,879, according to the indictment.

Subordinates also bought him a $3,000 55-inch LED television from Best Buy for Christmas in December 2013, court documents say. They also purchased an Apple laptop for Hills’ female friend.

In exchange for all of this, Alqsous, Al-Madani and others received more than $92,000 in extra bonuses from MetroHealth. Hills also let Alqsous and Al-Madani work part-time hours but remain as full-time hospital employees, the indictment says.

Free labor from dental residents

In 2009, an unnamed person, labeled in the indictment as a cooperating witness, reached out to Hills to see if the executive could help provide dentists for Noble Dental Clinic in East Cleveland, which he owned at the time and later turned over to Alqsous and Al-Madani, prosecutors say.

Hills and the person agreed that several MetroHealth dental residents, including Alqsous and Al-Madani, would practice at the clinic on a part-time basis. He told the dentist to pay him and his company Oral Health Enrichment the wages owed to Alqsous and Al-Madani instead of paying them directly, according to the indictment.

Alqsous and Al-Madani were not licensed to practice at a private firm, and were using MetroHealth’s malpractice insurance. Hills also sent later dentists to work at Noble and Buckeye Family Dental, another office operated by Alqsous and Al-Madani, the indictment shows.

Bribes from prospective dental residents

Alqsous, Sayegh and Al-Madani served as attending dentists at MetroHealth between 2008 and 2014. With that title came influence on who was admitted into the hospital system’s resident program, according to the indictment.

The three served on panels interviewing potential residents and selected candidates who were from Jordan or trained at a Jordanian dental school in order to obtain bribes. Alqsous and Sayegh told potential residents that they would have to pay a “donation” to MetroHealth in order to receive favorable consideration. They then told the candidates to pay them directly, according to the indictment.

The trio sometimes touted their access to Hills to show they had power. Alqsous and Sayegh sometimes said some of the money would go to Hills. If a candidate did not give them bribes, and they were still hired, Alqsous tried to make them work extra hours, weekends without pay or tried to fire them altogether, according to the indictment.

The bribes totaled at least $75,000, prosecutors said.

Oral Health Enrichment

In 2009, as Hills was at the end of his tenure on the Ohio State Dental Board, he prepared to open Oral Health Enrichment, a Woodmere company that specialized in remedial training for dentists found to have committed wrongdoing. He used his connections in Ohio, Kentucky and Texas to find clients and operated it using MetroHealth resources, the indictment states.

He offered to pay “referral fees” for dental board employees who sent clients to his company, according to the indictment.

On January 27, 2009, he and a woman referred to as “Public Employee 1” added Oral Health Enrichment to the list of providers for remedial training in Ohio. “Public Employee 1” is believed to be Lili Reitz, the former executive director of the dental board. She has not been criminally charged.

Dental care to an attorney          

In July 2009, the Deer Island of Walden Condominium Association in Aurora, where Hills lived, filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Edward Hills and his wife, Carla Hills, for failing to pay association fees. Hills hired an attorney whom he had also seen as a patient.

The indictment does not name the attorney, but Portage County court records show that Anthony Jordan, a former Cleveland city prosecutor and candidate for Cleveland Municipal Court judge in 2015, represented Hills in the lawsuit.

Before and after the lawsuit was filed, Hills and other ordered crowns, veneers and implants for the attorney. A witness, labeled in the indictment as a cooperating witness, created a treatment plan for the attorney. Hills told the dentist to claim that the treatment for the attorney was “educational” so the attorney would not have to pay for it, court records say.

The attorney received surgical dental implants on Sept. 21, 2009. This treatment continued through April 2011, as he received implants, crowns and other services from the unnamed dentist, as well as Alqsous and other dentists, the indictment says.

MetroHealth did not get paid for the dental work, and Hills told the attorney to pay him directly, according to court records. The hospital system lost $24,000 as a result.

Jordan did not return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Kickbacks for Medicaid patients

Hills, Al-Madani, Alqsous and others devised a scheme to solicit kickbacks for referring Medicaid recipients to Alqsous and Al-Madani’s private dental offices, prosecutors said.

Specifically, Alqsous and Al-Madani paid Hills more than $1,000 on several occasions to obtain the patients. On bank accounts they referred to the money as “consultation fees” or “profession fees,” the indictment says.

According to prosecutors, Hills received more than $17,600 in kickbacks.

When the MetroHealth and the FBI began investigating, the defendants referred to the payments as “repayments on loans,” even though no known loans existed, according to the indictment.

Trying to obstruct justice

In May 2014, Hills became aware of the federal criminal investigation. He, Alqsous, Al-Madani and others then worked to hide information from the FBI, IRS and the grand jury, prosecutors said. The trio told people to not cooperate with law enforcement, the indictment says.

Al-Madani told one dentist that they should not discuss the bribery conduct with the FBI or else they could be deported, court records say. Hills told Alqsous, Al-Madani and another dentist to tell the FBI that the television and other items he received were gifts. He said to say he initially refused to accept the TV but that they insisted because of their “Middle Eastern culture,” according to the indictment.

Hills, in a conversation with Alqsous, Al-Madani and a dentist who cooperated with prosecutors, said that “the s— we got ourselves in this year is because motherf—— running they mouth snitching …”, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, he told them to stick together.

This story has been updated to clarify what prosecutors say is the extent of Sayegh’s involvement.

Content retrieved from: http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2016/10/the_many_schemes_of_four_denti.html

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

Embezzlement News # 51 November 2016

 

Prosperident’s Dental Embezzlement News
Issue #51 — November 2016
In This Issue:
  • Laura Hatch returns!
  • Upcoming Speaking Dates
  • A note from our CEO

Nov 4 PEAK Education, Novi MI
Nov 10 Carestream Global Oral Health Summit, Las Vegas NV
Nov 16 Harbor Dental Society, Lakeside CA
Dec 5 Queens County Dental Society, Jamaica NY
2017
Jan 11 ITI Study Club, Delray Beach FL
Jan 19 St Helens Shadow Study Club, Vancouver WA
Jan 26 topsOrtho topsFest, Newport Beach CA
Jan 28 Manitoba Dental Association, Winnipeg MB
Feb 3 Newport Harbor Academy of Dentistry, Newport Beach CA
Feb 23 Ortho2 UGM Anaheim CA
Feb 24 Chicago Midwinter Meeting, Chicago IL
Mar 3 Dolphin Management User Meeting, Nashville TN
Mar 9 Greater Philadelphia Valley Forge Dental Society, Philadelphia PA
Mar 10 Pacific Dental Conference, Vancouver BC
Mar 17 Dr. Michelle Haddad Memorial Scholarship Lecture New Hartford, NY
Mar 21
Greater Woonsocket District Dental Society, Providence RI
April 7 UCSF Alumni, San Francisco CA
Apr 28 Keely Dental Society, Hamilton OH
May 4 Texas Dental Meeting, San Antonio TX
Our most-requested presentation is called “How To Steal From A Dentist”.
To book us for your meeting or study club, click here or call us at 888-398-2327.

Probability of you being embezzled in your career 60%
Probability that you will regret deleting this newsletter if that happens 100%

Did you miss a previous newsletter? We archive them here.

She’s Back — Our Most Popular Guest Columnist Ever

If you don’t know who Laura Hatch is, you probably should. Laura runs a consulting company called Front Office Rocks, and is quickly making a name for herself as one of practice management’s bright lights. We have featured her twice as a guest columnist, and her articles have been wildly popular with our readers. So we are all looking forward to Laura’s next installment.

How to Prepare the Morning Huddle

A morning huddle isn’t just about reviewing what procedures are being done that day. It should include every piece of information about the patients on that day’s schedule so that the whole team can fully take care of the patient’s needs.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for your office to be having a morning huddle each and every day before you start seeing patients. The morning huddle is essential to get everyone on the same page and plan out the day. Everyone on your staff should be responsible for getting ready for the morning huddle and being prepared to share information regarding the patients scheduled.

  • An accurately prepared morning huddle, at a minimum, starts the day before.
  • Have one person responsible for reviewing the following day’s upcoming patient appointments and double check the schedule.

Read more

Meet An Embezzler — “Tricky” Vicki Wafford of Temecula CA
Vicki Lee Wafford was convicted of stealing $1.6 million from her Oceanside CA dental office to feed her drug and gambling addictions, and to purchase a lot of luxury items.
Vicki’s efforts earned her an eight year prison sentence, and a place in our exclusive “Million Dollar Club”.
We profile Vicki, and 350 other embezzlers, in our Hall of Shame. Check it out here — https://www.prosperident.com/prosperidents-hall-shame-gallery/
Note From Our CEO

There are relatively few things that frustrate me, but I’ll confess that I do experience some bruxism over the number of people who I will call “well-intentioned dabblers” who offer advice on how to “prevent” embezzlement.

These people have typically seen several embezzlements, but have managed to learn the wrong lessons from them.

When someone has, for example, embezzled by stealing from the bank deposit enroute to the bank, a logical conclusion is that the practice owner should personally make the bank deposit. Similarly, if an office has a single user account in its practice management software, which is then exploited by an embezzler, the dabblers will conclude that individual user accounts with proper restrictions would have “prevented” the embezzlement.

While I think a proper setup of software user accounts and not delegating banking are great ideas, the concept that these steps will somehow prevent embezzlement reflects a misunderstanding of the determination of embezzlers and the porosity of dental offices.

Blocking the first embezzlement idea an employee thinks of will not convert them into an honest person; instead it leaves you with a larcenous staff member looking for a different way to steal. And in a typical practice, they have hundreds of options.

So let’s shelve the idea that we can “prevent” embezzlement, and focus on detection instead. A good start is our article on 10 great monitoring ideas. You can check it out here.

Thanks for reading!

David Harris CPA, CMA, MBA, CFE, CFF
Chief Executive Officer
 

Prosperident — the world’s largest firm investigating financial crimes committed against dentists
Visit our website — www.dentalembezzlement.com

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Ten Great Embezzlement Monitoring Ideas

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By David Harris MBA, CPA, CMA, CFE, CFF

CEO, Prosperident

If you read our articles or receive our monthly newsletter, you probably are familiar with our telling people that “prevention” of embezzlement is impossible, but detection of embezzlement is fairly easy, if you go about it the right way.  Here are ten steps that take very little time but can make your practice much safer from embezzlement:

Daily:

1. Print reports yourself — this prevents the possibility of a staff member using “selective reporting” in the information that they give you.

2. Review and initial day sheets. Retain for three years or more. You may need these some day if embezzlement is suspected.

Monthly:

3. Review entry log (alarm system).  Staff members coming to the office at unusual times is often a symptom of embezzlement.  Taking five minutes to review this information from your alarm company is one of the best time investments you can make in detecting embezzlement.

4. Review AR listing and compare with previous month.  Make sure that balances are “aging” properly in the reports, and ensure that suitable collection action is being taken on older accounts.

5. Review the Modified transactions report (the name varies with the type of practice management software you are using).  This is a much smaller report than the “audit log” (which can run to thousands of pages per month) and is often a place where certain types of embezzlement transactions can be seen.

6.Have bank and credit card statements sent to your house instead of your office.  This prevents employee tampering.

7. Use Prosperident’s Monthly Monitoring Spreadsheet (ask for it at requests@dentalembezzlement.com) to reconcile daily reporting with monthly reporting and deposits.

As needed:

8.Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire (available at www.prosperident.com/store)

9. Mandatory vacations and cross training for all staff.  And don’t let them take vacation one day at a time — everyone from your office should be gone for at least two consecutive weeks per year, and this needs to be done when the office is open.  The idea is to force another staff member to do the work that would normally be done by the person on vacation.  This will not happen if vacation is taken a day or two at a time.

10. Skepticism when hiring (Prosperident’s Hall of Shame is a great resource).  Did you know that 65 million Americans (i.e. one in four adults) have criminal records?  And that published studies suggest that at least 60% of resumes have at least some level of false or misleading information.  Often dentists “hire in a hurry” and end up skipping a proper background check on an applicant.  From basic items like checking photo id for job applicants to having short-list applicants take a drug test, dentists are very reluctant to apply proper screening before hiring.

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

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