Embezzlement News # 61 — September 2017

 

Dental Embezzlement News from Prosperident
Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
Issue #61 — September 2017
In This Issue:
    • Dr. Doug Carlsen
    • Our new logo

 

  • Upcoming speaking dates
  • A note from our CEO
Our new logo
We decided that, after using our last logo for five years, it was time for to tweak it a bit. We hope you like the new version!
Falling asleep at meetings?
With attention-grabbing presentation titles like “How to Outsmart an Embezzler” and “The Walletectomy”, we keep your meeting interesting.
Here are some places we will be speaking soon:
Sep 6 Durham Dental Society, Ajax ON
Sep 7 Niagara Peninsula Dental Association, Niagara Falls, ON
Sep 14 North Texas Premier Dental Forum, Fort Worth TX
Sep 16 Dentsply Sirona World, Las Vegas NV
Sep 22 Patterson Dental, Southlake, TX
Oct 12 Orthodontic Specialists of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City OK
Oct 20-21 Thompson Okanagan Dental Society, Kelowna BC
Oct 27 Sinclair Dental, Moncton NB
Nov 3 Innovative Study Group, Scottsdale AZ
Nov 14 Fresno Madera Dental Society, Fresno CA
Nov 15 Vancouver Study Club, Vancouver BC
Dec 7-8 Patterson Dental, Nashville, TN
2018
Jan 17 Metro West Seminars, Omaha NB
Feb 1 Patterson Dental, Cincinnati OH
Feb 2 Patterson Dental, Columbus OH
Feb 2 Ortho 2 UGM, Savannah, GA
 
To book us for your meeting or study club, click HERE or call us at 888-398-2327.
Did you miss a previous newsletter? We archive them here.
Guest Post — Dr. Doug Carlsen
Our friend Doug Carlsen is a former practicing dentist. He was able to retire at age 53 and now shares his wisdom on achieving financial freedom with the dental profession. He is also one of the nicest men you will ever meet.
We are honored that Doug made a video for us. Check it out here:
Doug’s web site is www.golichcarlsen.com. It’s definitely worth a look.
A Note From Our CEO
I got asked a great question the other day. I was speaking with a prospective client, and she asked, “What differentiates you from everyone else who investigates dental embezzlement?”
I paused for a second, wondering if I was too close to the problem to give a cogent answer.
My brief, but honest, answer was:
  1. We limit ourselves to working with dentists only.
  2. We have been doing this work for a long time and have well-established procedures and rigid quality controls.
  3. Our dozen investigators are the most qualified, best trained, and most diverse, group in the business. 70% of our investigators have received the Certified Fraud Examiner designation, which is the “gold standard” for fraud investigation. 40% of our team are also licensed as private investigators. We all have dental backgrounds and understand that environment well.
  4. We perform hundreds of dental embezzlement investigations annually. It is challenging to do this work well if you only do three or four investigations per year.
  5. We have the ability to handle a wide variety of scenarios. For example, investigating orthodontic practices requires different knowledge than assisting general dentists. Many of our investigators have considerable expertise in specific software, situations, or types of practice.
So what do you think? If you had embezzlement concerns, wouldn’t you want to place your trust in a team like ours?
With summer ending and my speaking schedule picking up, I hope to see many of you somewhere soon. Thanks for reading.
David Harris CFE, CPA, CMA, CFF, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Prosperident — Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
Visit our website — www.dentalembezzlement.com

 

NC woman charged with embezzling more than $1.5 million from High Point Regional Health

Editor’s note — as you may know, we normally confine ourselves to investigating dental office embezzlement.  However, we do provide reporting on significant embezzlements in medical offices because the methodologies employed have considerable commonality.

 

 

A Kernersville woman is in jail for allegedly embezzling more than $1.5 million from her employer.

Kimberly Hobson, 46, was arrested Tuesday morning by detectives from the High Point Police Department Financial Crimes Unit along with agents from the United States Secret Service and the United States Treasury Department.

 A joint investigation led authorities to discovering the theft during Hobson’s tenure as an employee of High Point Regional Health Systems.

Hobson is charged with felonious embezzlement by employee and is being held in the High Point Jail on $1 million bond.

Hobson is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 15.

Content retrieved from: http://www.wxii12.com/article/woman-charged-with-embezzling-more-than-dollar15-million-from-high-point-regional-health-systems/12014710

Los Angeles — Ex-dental office manager sentenced for fraud

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A former office manager at a Beverly Hills dental
office was sentenced today to 180 days in county jail for insurance fraud.
Claudia Ventura, 40, also was ordered to complete 200 hours of community
service and five years of formal probation, according to the Los Angeles
County District Attorney’s Office.
Ventura pleaded no contest April 10 to two felony counts of insurance
fraud.
Co-defendant Tom Kalili, who owned and operated a dental office called
Beverly Hills Medical Suites, pleaded no contest April 10 to one felony count
each of insurance fraud and failure to file an income tax return. Kalili, 59,
was sentenced April 29 to one year in county jail and five years of probation,
along with paying just over $786,000 in restitution to various insurance
companies.
The case stemmed from a multi-year joint investigation by state
regulators and tax agents.

Check fraud investigation: Questions arise surrounding California dental office

Hanford police continue to investigate the case of Platinum Dental, a group named earlier this month in a check-fraud scheme that left several businesses around town with a significant hole in their pockets.

Police investigators say people claiming to be Platinum Dental employees are trying to cash checks bearing the company logo at local retailers. When retailers go to the bank for reimbursement, they are told that the checks are issued from a nonexistent or bad account.

One victim, Harrod’s Market on East Sixth Street, lost more than $1,000 to the bad checks, money that has not been returned since the business was hit in early November. Police say so far four businesses have been taken for about $4,000 and they predict there may be other victims out there.

Police said no arrests have been made regarding these incidents. Department officials said the high volume of cases has slowed down the investigation.

But what started out as a simple case of suspected fraud has since become “very weird,” according to Lt. Pat Crowe.

Platinum Dental’s official Web site describes the group as an “affordable full-service cosmetic dentistry office.” It goes on to say they are a member of “the Better Business Bureau, the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association and the Hanford Chamber of Commerce.”

However, not one of these organizations contacted by The Sentinel claimed any knowledge of the group.

“I’ve never even heard of them,” Chamber of Commerce CEO Hope-Williams Morikawa said earlier this month.

Officials with the California Dental Association said that while their organization normally keeps track of dentists by name, they have never had any registered dentists affiliated with a Platinum Dental company in Hanford.

The city Finance Department says there are no businesses with the name “Platinum Dental” licensed to operate in Hanford.

Only one company is registered with the California Secretary of State’s Web site to operate under the name Platinum Dental, but it’s based out of San Marcos. Officials there said they have no affiliation with Hanford’s Platinum Dental.

Sentinel columnist and Bakersfield attorney Dennis Beaver was asked to look into Platinum Dental and concluded that the group “does not appear to be run as a legitimate business.”

Beaver said he called the company to ask the name of their practicing dentist, only to be immediately disconnected. A return call was answered by a message saying the number was no longer in service.

“I would tell anybody to be cautious about stepping in there,” Beaver said. “Their refusal to answer Sentinel phone calls combined with their peculiar telephone behavior raises a huge red flag to me. We cannot establish their legitimacy with the dental board and, combined with the bad check issue, we have every reason… to be cautious.”

The California Board of Dentistry could find no record of a dental license being issued to Platinum Dental, but an investigator said “this doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. We just have to look into the matter further.”

A Kings County resident who wished to remain anonymous told The Sentinel that her teeth were cleaned at the company’s 425 W. Seventh St. office by a dentist who “only drives down to Hanford on Wednesdays.” She said she didn’t recall the dentist’s name, but that he was based in Fresno.

A Sentinel reporter visited the company’s office on several occasions throughout the month of December and consistently found the location dark, with only a taped paper sign bearing the group’s logo on the door.

A representative of Platinum Dental who did not identify herself answered “no comment” when asked about the company’s possible involvement in check fraud and did not answer repeated return phone calls.

The group could potentially face such charges as the unauthorized practice of medicine, violation of the business and professions code and fraud, according to Beaver.

Content retrieved from: http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/check-fraud-investigation-questions-arise-surrounding-local-downtown-dental-office/article_c534eb8a-f797-55dc-8e8a-b6c416580619.html

Tennessee man moves from managing wife’s dental practice to major investment scam

Two Tennessee men with criminal records and an associate in Florida have been charged with fraudulently raising $15 million by misrepresenting to investors that their funds would be used for oil drilling.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday said David R. Greenlee and David A. Stewart, both of Gallatin, Tenn., ran the scheme from January 2013 to February 2016, telling investors they would use enhanced oil recovery techniques such as fracking to exploit existing wells in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and promising profits of 15% to 55% for decades.

In reality, the SEC said, they diverted nearly two-thirds of the funds raised from at least 150 investors for their own benefit, to pay salesmen or to advertise for new investors.

Richard P. Underwood, who allegedly supervised one of the boiler room sales teams that solicited and sold the investments, was named as a co-defendant in the SEC’s civil complaint. All three men have also been charged in a parallel criminal case.

“As alleged in our complaint, misleading brochures and radio advertisements lured investors into believing they could strike it rich by investing in these oil drilling opportunities,” Walter Jospin, director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office, said in a news release. “Unbeknownst to the investors, most of their money was being used for other purposes.”

Greenlee and Stewart allegedly used fake names to conceal their criminal records from investors. Greenlee served time during 1999 to 2000 for forgery and burglary, and again in 2004 for vehicular manslaughter, while his partner was convicted of federal tax evasion in 2007.

According to the SEC, the two men initiated the alleged fraud by incorporating a company called Southern Energy Group (SEG) in January 2013 and installing Robert Dorrance, a relative of Greenlee’s wife, as its “figurehead” president.

SEG’s promotional materials described Dorrance as having “years of experience in finance, sales, oil & gas,” when in reality, the SEC said, his “prior work involved selling stereos and helping manage his spouse’s dental practice.”

Of the funds raised from investors, “most was spent at only a few of the wells in order to create an appearance of activity to dupe investors who wanted to see the wells in production,” the SEC alleged.

Content retrieved from: http://ww2.cfo.com/fraud/2017/08/three-accused-15m-oil-investment-scam/

Australian bookkeeper charged with ‘substantial’ fraud

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

A TOOWOOMBA bookkeeper charged with what police claim to be “a substantial” fraud has appeared before the city’s Magistrates Court.

During a brief mention of the case yesterday, Jason Andrew McWilliam was not called upon to enter any pleas to three counts of “stealing by clerks and servants”, as the charges appeared on the court list.

While the amounts of money involved were not aired in court, Officer in Charge of Toowoomba’s Criminal Investigation Branch, Detective Senior Sergeant Paul McCusker confirmed the case involved “a substantial amount of money” from each of three complainants.

The three complainant companies are all Toowoomba-based, he said.

The Chronicle understands the bookkeeper transferred $60,000 from one client’s account into his own for personal use and that the other two complainants also claim tens of thousands of dollars had been transferred from their accounts.

It is believed a Toowoomba-based dental surgery reported the missing funds to police after being notified of back taxes owed to the Australian Tax Office.

The 45-year-old, who is believed to have overseen the dental practice’s daily financial transactions when working for an accountancy firm in Toowoomba, was charged last month after an official fraud investigation.

The defendant was represented in court by Toowoomba legal firm MacDonald Law and an adjournment was sought.

Magistrate Catherine Pirie remanded McWilliam on bail and adjourned the case for mention back in the same court on September 27.

Retired NJ Dentist: ‘He continued to use my prescription and my license number’

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

The Fortuna resident who allegedly fraudulently ran Eel River Valley Dental using forged documents appeared in court Monday and has been charged with four felony counts.

According to Humboldt County court records, Mazair, also known as Michael, Eshghipour allegedly committed insurance fraud, fraudulently altered medical credentials, fraudulently used an altered medical credential and practiced medicine without a license from July 2015 to June 2016.

Retired dentist Robert Parks said he sold his practice, Eel River Valley Dental, to Eshghipour in 2015 at the referral of another local dentist.

“We got a license from him but he forged it,” he said.

Parks then retired but heard odd things from his old staff who all kept their jobs through the ownership transition.

“He continued to use my prescription and my license number,” he said.

The staff kept digging and found no record of a license for Eshghipour, he said.

“As soon as they found out I immediately called and told them to leave the office and call the authorities,” Parks said.

He said he came out of retirement and took over his old practice to stabilize his patients and make sure they transitioned to another, licensed, dentist.

“My patients were my friends and my family so I wouldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t do that,” Parks said.

Parks retired again, for good, in May this year and Eel River Valley Dental is no longer operating.

According to a Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office news release, the Fortuna Police Department and DA’s office investigated this case extensively and arrested Eshghipour on June 30, 2016. He was later released on his own recognizance.

“Today, Mr. Eshghipour made an initial appearance in Humboldt Superior Court,” the DA’s office release, issued on Monday, reads. “He did not enter a plea. The matter was continued to for October 2, 2017. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Tobias Hasler, who specializes in insurance fraud crimes.”

He appeared for a arraignment on a complaint and according to court records would have had a warrant issued for his arrest had he not shown up.

Eshghipour’s is due in court for his continued complaint arraignment on Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m., according to court records.

He faces one felony charge of making false statements for an insurance claim, felony possessing an altered certificate to practice medicine, felony using a fraudulent certificate and felony practicing medicine without a license, according to court records.

“He was just deceitful, a con man,” Parks said. “He conned a lot of people so I don’t think he should be on the street.”

Content retrieved from: http://www.times-standard.com/article/NJ/20170725/NEWS/170729896

Australian woman jailed for seven years after siphoning almost $1 million from boss

Tina Maree Bartlem

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

A GOLD Coast mother who previously lived with her in-laws has been jailed for seven years for siphoning almost $800,000 from her boss.

She said she did it to win over her father’s “love”.

Tina Maree Bartlem, 35, transferred money from Robina Town Dental into her own account at least 250 times over three years while working as practice manager.

On Friday, she was sentenced in the Southport District Court to seven years jail after pleading guilty to several counts of fraud totalling $724,966.53 in 2008-2011. Bartlem’s fraud was not discovered until 2014. She will be released on parole in September 2019.

A psychological report revealed Bartlem began stealing the money to help out her late father, Grahame Colwell, who allegedly lost everything through a Nigerian scam. Bartlem also used business credit cards to buy three nights accommodation at a Peppers hotel and personalised licence plates, court documents show.

The mother of one told a psychiatrist she went on holidays to New Zealand and Hawaii with her family but was “at a loss to understand where all the money went”.

She told a psychiatrist she could not specifically remember transferring the money to her father “other than giving her father money to ‘love me’”.

She also conceded “maybe” she gambled the money.

The Ashmore woman described her relationship with her father as “dysfunctional”.

“I love him dearly but as a child, and adult, I never experienced unconditional love from him,” she wrote. “I am horrified by my actions in terms of the charges against me. To this day I have no memory of taking the amount of funds.”

Documents showed Bartlem’s ex-husband of more than a decade did not know his wife was stealing. “He indicated … they were ‘never rolling in cash’.”

Mr Bartlem was surprised to learn she worked only part-time “as she went to work everyday and he was a stay-at-home dad to their daughter”.

A psychiatric report revealed Bartlem claimed she heard voices of two other woman. She attended a Gold Coast Baptist church, also studied counselling and said she wanted her life to “mean something”.

Former Robina Town Dental owner Alistair Henry said the practice was sold in 2011 because they believed it was struggling financially.

“We haven’t received a cent and want to warn other small business owners that someone who comes across as quite trustworthy can totally abuse your trust,” said Mr Henry.

Defence lawyer Mark Donnelly, of Kroesen and Co Lawyers, said his client was “very remorseful and had taken a lot of steps to turn her life around”.

Content retrieved from: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/crime-court/gold-coast-mum-jailed-for-seven-years-after-siphoning-almost-1-million-from-boss/news-story/14e6bdbd506966e75c07bdee21266c75

Former Iowa dental office manager charged with fraud

Pamela Sue Harris

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

MASON CITY — A woman who used to work at a Mason City dental office is accused of stealing money from the practice.

Pamela Sue Harris, longtime office manager for Drs. Blake Barnes and Michael Louscher, was charged in U.S District Court for the Northern District of Iowa last week with wire fraud.

Court documents say Harris, a 21-year employee, began scheming to defraud the practice in 2005 and continued until she was fired in 2014.

 Harris allegedly used the dentists’ rubber signature stamps without their authorization to create forged checks drawn on the practice’s bank account.

She is accused of using these forged checks to cause NSB Bank to make electronic funds transfers by wire directly into her bank account or into the accounts of third parties, including credit card companies, to pay for personal expenses.

Harris also allegedly maintained various credit card accounts in the practice’s name to pay for personal expenses without authorization from the dentists.

From time to time Harris allegedly attempted to disguise the illegitimate payments by causing checks to be drawn close in time and in amounts identical to the practice’s legitimate rent expenses.

It’s unclear how much money was allegedly taken.

Harris has an appearance scheduled for Sept. 13 in a federal courtroom in Cedar Rapids.

Content retrieved from: http://globegazette.com/news/local/former-mason-city-dental-office-manager-charged-with-fraud/article_17170ac9-6991-501c-90c1-739f6980cb4b.html

Idaho hygienist sentenced to five years in prison for health care fraud

Cherie R. Dillon

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

Cherie R. Dillon, 62, will spend five years in prison for completing dental procedures that legally could only be performed by a dentist.

Dillon drilled and pulled teeth, provided patients at her Payette office with fillings and dentures, and offered other procedures that went far beyond her license as a dental hygienist. Dillon did not attend dental school and did not have a license beyond a hygienist’s.

At the same time, she billed patients for dental hygiene services performed without the supervision and direction of a dentist, required under state law and licensing requirements.

Under a preliminary order, Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered Dillon to forfeit $847,016 in illegal proceeds and to pay $549,605 in restitution. A final order is expected to be issued following a hearing Aug. 9.

Dillon pleaded guilty to two dozen counts of health care fraud and an equal number of counts of aggravated identity theft. Her change of plea came in January, after four days of trial.

Dillon founded her Payette practice, Dental Healthcare With Heart, in August 2005. She hired dentists to work for her on a part-time basis in exchange for sharing one-quarter to one-third of the money she took in from health care benefit providers for services provided by the dentists.

Dillon took advantage of the condition of one of her contract dentists, Dr. Theodore Fricke, who was suffering from severe health problems that required in-home health care. In late 2010, Fricke’s physician certified he was fully disabled for the purpose of disability insurance.

Dillon fraudulently billed Medicaid and insurance companies for services she said were performed by Fricke between 2010 and 2013, authorities said. She billed $1.5 million during those years, according to court documents.

Prosecutors introduced evidence that Dillon renewed Fricke’s dental license and a license for prescribing controlled substances. She even completed online continuing education requirements for Fricke.

Dillon carried on a ruse that Fricke continued to practice at Dental Healthcare With Heart, telling other contract dentists that Fricke worked on a day they weren’t in the office.

Prosecutors said Dillon stamped medical records, letters and billing documents with Fricke’s signature stamp.

Dillon deposited “substantial” amounts of cash into retirement accounts for her and her husband. The amounts, prosecutors said, “exceeded the amount paid to any contract dentist” performing actual dental procedures at the practice.

If insurance companies had known treatments were billed by a dental hygienist working outside the scope of her license, they would not have paid for the treatments.

The Idaho State Board of Dentistry pressured Dillon into surrendering her dental hygienist license in June 2016, after the allegations surfaced.

The case was investigated by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Idaho Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and its federal and state law enforcement partners are committed to vigorously pursuing health care benefit fraud,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez said.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/crime/article154852059.html#storylink=cpy