Embezzlement News #65 — January 2018

 

Dental Embezzlement News from Prosperident
Issue #65 — January 2018
Podcast!
The three dentists who run the Dental Realist Podcast recently did an eposide with David Harris. A great conversation about embezzlement!
Check it out HERE.
Hail to The Chief!
At Prosperident, Scott Clifford is known as “The Chief”. This is because he occupies the position of Chief Fraud Examiner, at the pinnacle of Prosperident’s talented group of fraud examiners.
As Chief Fraud Examiner, Scott is responsible for developing the industry-leading investigative programs that keep Prosperident at the top of its field.
He also gets to do something that gives him great personal satisfaction, put those who steal from dentists behind bars. You can read about one of Scott’s victories on the right side of this page.
Are your meetings unexciting?
“We received many positive comments and would highly recommend you to any dental component”

 

Merriam Osmondson

 

Executive Director

 

Fresno Madera Dental Society

 

Here are some places we will be speaking soon:
Jan 16 Lincoln District Dental Society, Lincoln NE
Jan 17 Metro West Seminars, Omaha NE
Jan 26 Ohio State University, Columbus OH
Jan 30 Patterson Dental Indianapolis IN
Jan 31 Patterson Dental Cleveland OH
Feb 1 Patterson Dental, Cincinnati OH
Feb 2 Patterson Dental, Columbus OH
Feb 25 Ortho 2 UGM, Savannah, GA
Mar 14 Altura Periodontics, Denver CO
Mar 15 Boulder Broomfield Dental Society, Boulder CO
May 5 Tumbleweed Study Club, Walland TN
May 14 University of the West Indies, Jamaica
May 25 Jasper Dental Congress, Jasper AB
May 6 American Association of Orthodontists, Washington DC
Jun 2 Orthopreneur meeting, Dallas TX
Oct 1 Wichita District Dental Society, Wichita KS
Oct 4 Southern Association of Orthodontists, New Orleans LA
 
To book us for your meeting or study club, click HERE or call us at 888-398-2327.
Prosperident’s David Harris featured in Incisal Edge Magazine
A Thief In The Family
David Harris was thrilled to be in the Winter 2018 edition of Incisal Edge Magazine with Benco’s Kay Huff and Bill Aquilino. Their article, A Thief in the Family is available HERE.
In Jail For Christmas!
This is Elizabeth Armstrong. Elizabeth, from Fredericksburg VA, did not make it home for Christmas this year. She was serving part of her six-year sentence for embezzlement, based on the investigation performed by one of Prosperident’s “Top Guns” Scott Clifford (full story HERE). Way to go, Scott!
Our CEO’s Column
After spending most of my life working with dentists, I think that I have pretty good insight into how you folks think.
Right now you are probably thinking about making some business goals for 2018, a.k.a. your 2018 New Year’s resolutions.
Dentists differ from most of the population — studies suggest that only 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and shockingly, less than 10% achieve them. This discrepancy reflects the fact that setting goals are easier than following through. Why? Because you need a plan.
By your nature, dentists are achievers and measurers; you could not have gotten where you are without the ability to set and achieve goals. You are planners.
This year, we would like to suggest an important (and possible) resolution for your practice. Unlike the typical New Year’s Resolution – lofty, well-intended, but with no plan to bring it to fruition, we want you to make 2018 your practice’s most prosperous year. The plan for us to help you attain your goal is ridiculously simple: you MUST complete our newly enhanced Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire (ERAQ). This 15-minute questionnaire is an excellent predictor of whether someone is embezzling from you.
We normally wait until the quieter days of summer to offer a limited time, no-cost access invitation to complete our ERAQ, but as part of our commitment to having you start the New Year right, we are inviting you to complete the ERAQ, which we normally retail for $139, from now until January 31st at absolutely no cost to you. That’s right, our most popular practice assessment tool is yours for nothing.
To access our questionnaire, please click HERE.
All of us at Prosperident wish you a Happy New Year and a very prosperous 2018!

 

David Harris
CEO
Did you miss a previous newsletter? We archive them here.
Prosperident — Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
Visit our website — www.dentalembezzlement.com

NC Woman stole $400,000 from dentist, spent it on Disney World and other vacations. Sentenced to five years.

A woman who admitted stealing $409,000 from a Huntersville dental office she managed has been sentenced to a minimum of nearly five years in prison.

Angela Nicole Brown, 45, of Charlotte spent part of the money she stole from the practice of Dr. John Wells on vacations, including to Disney World, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office said last week.

Brown was sentenced after pleading guilty in Mecklenburg County Superior Court to embezzlement greater than $100,000.

In 2015, Wells found that Brown had written unauthorized checks to herself and taken cash from the office’s business account from February 2010 to February 2015, according to the district attorney’s office.

Wells also discovered that Brown had used the practice’s credit card to pay for her utility bills, gas fill-ups, store purchases and vacations, prosecutors said. Wells did not return calls seeking comment last week. Wells declined to comment about the case when reached by the Observer.

Brown also was ordered to pay the money back.

Content retrieved from: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article190866184.html

Stamford CT Dental Office Manager Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Insurance Companies

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ELENA ILIZAROV, 45, of Stamford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for using an identity theft victim’s personal identifying information to submit fraudulent bills to private insurance companies offering dental insurance.

According to court documents and statements made in court, ILIZAROV served as the office manager for Advanced Dentistry, a dental practice located in Stamford.  Between 2005 and 2016, ILIZAROV billed 37 private dental insurance companies for services allegedly performed by an identity theft victim for patients of Advanced Dentistry, when the victim did not in fact perform those services.  The identity theft victim was a dentist who had been affiliated with Advanced Dentistry for a short period of time and retired fully from dentistry in 2011.  In total, ILIZAROV earned more than $1.2 million by billing in the name of the retired dentist.

Between 2011 and 2015, approximately $581,729 was paid by private insurance companies to Advanced Dentistry for services allegedly provided by the retired dentist.  As a result, the insurance companies issued 1099 forms to the Internal Revenue Service pertaining to the retired dentist.  In 2015 and 2016, ILIZAROV renewed the retired dentist’s Connecticut dental license and controlled substance registrations, paying for the renewals with her personal credit card.  She also applied for, and received, liability insurance in the name of the retired dentist for several years.

ILIZAROV was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on June 21, 2016.  On March 13, 2017, she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Judge Bolden will issue a restitution order within 30 days.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarala V. Nagala and David J. Sheldon.

Content retrieved from: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ct/pr/stamford-dental-office-manager-sentenced-prison-defrauding-insurance-companies

One of our “Alumnae” sentenced

Elizabeth Armstrong

Elizabeth Armstrong of Fredericksburg VA will NOT be home for Christmas this year.  She received a prison sentence of six years (of which five years will be suspended) and was taken directly from the courthouse to prison.

Prosperident’s Chief Fraud Examiner Scott Clifford

 

Scott Clifford, who was Prosperident’s lead investigator on the case, expressed satisfaction with this outcome.  (Scott has since been promoted to Chief Fraud Examiner, in charge of all of Prosperident’s cadre of examiners).  “While no dentist who was embezzled is ever happy about it, at least they can derive some satisfaction from knowing that the perpetrator got punished”, he said recently.

 

 

 

 

 


Florida dental clinic employee stole thousands of dollars from patients, authorities say

A dental clinic receptionist stole thousands of dollars from customers over the course of more than a year, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Lucina Rodriguez, 52, of Deltona was arrested Friday on two counts of grand theft after 30 bank deposits totaling more than $180,000 disappeared. The money was linked to prepayments she collected from patients, sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant said.

When she took payments she did not give receipts or file evidence of the transaction in the patient’s medical records, according to investigators.

One patient canceled a procedure in late September and requested a $400 refund. Authorities said Rodriguez used the money to send to her family in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Gant said investigators interviewed employees at the clinic and determined Rodriguez had been stealing cash since January 2016, making close to $15,000 deposits to personal bank accounts.

She was fired on Sept. 19, and money stopped disappearing afterward, Gant said.

Rodriguez was taken to the Volusia County Jail. Bail was set at $5,000.

Two Chicago women indicted on identity theft charges after dentist visit

Two Chicago women were indicted on charges of identity theft by a Lake County grand jury Nov. 1 in Waukegan, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office and the Deerfield Police Department.

The charges against Kaya Washington, 28, and Beverly Henry, 40, both of Chicago, came after an investigation by Deerfield police that included a subpoena of Facebook records to determine the identity of one of the women, according to Deerfield Police detective Brad Tokarz.

Both Washington and Henry are charged with two counts of identity theft, one of unlawful possession of a credit card, and another of fraudulent use of a credit card, according to Cynthia Vargas, communications manager for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office.

Washington posted $10,000 bond, and police are still looking for Henry, according Tokarz.

Tokarz said a dentist in Chicago said the two women came in on March 9 for dental work. He said Henry showed a driver’s license with her own picture, though the information was that of the victim. He said they paid for the work with a credit card in the victim’s name.

“When you sit in the dental chair at that office they take your picture,” Tokarz said. “I had two clear pictures of both individuals.”

Washington is scheduled to appear in Lake County Criminal Court Nov. 15 in Waukegan, according to the Lake County Court Clerk’s records.

Washington declined to comment, and Henry could not be reached for comment.

Content retrieved from: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/deerfield/news/ct-dfr-indictment-tl-1116-20171115-story.html

Embezzlement News #64 December 2017

 

Dental Embezzlement News from Prosperident
Issue #64 — December 2017
Podcast!
Prosperident’s David Harris was recently interviewed by Financial Freedom guru (and this month’s guest columnist) Dr. David Phelps.
Check it out HERE..
Need to liven up your meetings?
“We received many positive comments and would highly recommend you to any dental component”

 

Merriam Osmondson
Executive Director
Fresno Madera Dental Society

 

Here are some places we will be speaking soon:
Dec 7-8 Patterson Dental, Nashville, TN
2018
Jan 16 Lincoln District Dental Society, Lincoln NE
Jan 17 Metro West Seminars, Omaha NE
Jan 30 Patterson Dental Indianapolis IN
Jan 31 Patterson Dental Cleveland OH
Feb 1 Patterson Dental, Cincinnati OH
Feb 2 Patterson Dental, Columbus OH
Feb 25 Ortho 2 UGM, Savannah, GA
Mar 14 Altura Periodontics, Denver CO
Mar 15 Boulder Broomfield Dental Society, Boulder CO
May 5 Tumbleweed Study Club, Walland TN
May 25 Jasper Dental Congress, Jasper AB
Jun 2 Orthopreneur meeting, Dallas TX
Oct 1 Wichita District Dental Society, Wichita KS
 
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 Column — David Phelps DDS
Are you replaceable?
At first glance, that question may sound like a threat. If I’m replaceable, then what is my real value? If I’m replaceable, where’s my leverage? Who needs me?
I can hear your answer. “Me, replaceable? Heck no! I’m the owner! I do the work. I’m highly trained and have years of experience doing x, y, z.
I have specific relationships with our clients or patients – it wouldn’t be possible to replace me without severe damage to the business.”
“I’ve worked hard all my life to get where I am.”
And exactly where are you?
“At the top of my game. I have a practice (job – ed.) to go to every day of the week. I can’t take time off because I am so busy doing the thing I spent so many years learning. I still have a ton of debt to pay off, and I don’t see any way off this hamster wheel. But life is good. Someday I’ll be able to enjoy it.”
Hmmm, sort of a Catch 22. The better one becomes at “doing the thing,” providing the technical labor, the less freedom there is. Trading time for dollars, no matter what the hourly pay rate, is not a path to freedom.
Our CEO’s Column
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
I hope that all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving and are now getting geared up for a month of holiday celebrations. As we are entering December, I will risk being a “Debbie-Downer” by mentioning that this is also the season that is most likely to produce embezzlement in your practice.
This is because the thieving element in your office is most likely to help themselves to a little more than your generous spirit to pay for Christmas, making December and January particularly active months for employee theft.
With patients’ insurance coming to its year-end and some non-insured patients looking to maximize tax deductions, it is a perfect time for money to disappear, undetected, from your office.
My team and I wish nothing but the best for you and your two families (actual and work “family”) this holiday season, but we would not be doing our jobs if we did not ask you to make sure you pay attention to unusual staff behavior during this busy time of year. Charity begins at home, but this should never be unwittingly extended to your work family.
If you have any reason to believe that you are unwillingly funding someone else’s holiday celebrations, please reach out to us and we will be happy to provide discreet assistance.
My deepest wish is that none of you fine folks would ever feel the need for embezzlement investigation, however, statistics do not support that wish and so I will let you know that if you are concerned about someone behaving badly in your office, we are here to help. Always.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays,
David and the team at Prosperident
Prosperident — Dentistry’s Embezzlement Experts
Visit our website — www.dentalembezzlement.com

 

Guest Post — Are You Replaceable? By David Phelps D.D.S.

Editor’s note — Dr. David Phelps is Founder and CEO of the Freedom Founders Mastermind. He is an expert at assisting dentists with the diversification of their wealth outside their dental practices.  We are honored to have David as a guest columnist. You can also see him interviewing our CEO, David Harris, here — http://dentistfreedomblueprint.com/ep-139-david-harris-is-your-practice-leaking-money/


Are You Replaceable?  By David Phelps, D.D.S.

At first glance, that question may sound like a threat.  If I’m replaceable, then what is my real value?  If I’m replaceable, where’s my leverage?  Who needs me?

I can hear your answer.  “Me, replaceable?  Heck no!  I’m the owner!  I do the work.  I’m highly trained and have years of experience doing x, y, z.  I have specific relationships with our clients or patients – it wouldn’t be possible to replace me without severe damage to the business.”

“I’ve worked hard all my life to get where I am.”

And exactly where are you?

“At the top of my game.  I have a practice (job – ed.) to go to every day of the week.  I can’t take time off because I am so busy doing the thing I spent so many years learning.  I still have a ton of debt to pay off, and I don’t see any way off this hamster wheel.  But life is good.  Someday I’ll be able to enjoy it.”

Hmmm…sort of a Catch 22.  The better one becomes at “doing the thing,” providing the technical labor, the less freedom there is.  Trading time for dollars, no matter what the hourly pay rate, is not a path to freedom.

Being ‘replaceable’ seems contrary to everything we’ve been taught over our lifespan – that being replaceable is a bad thing.  We’re told to shoot for the stars, create goals to exceed, accomplish great things, make a mark, develop a skill-set that creates high value.

But as a business owner or entrepreneur, not being replaceable is actually a problem…a huge problem!

When we focus on how well we “do” something…when we go to school many years to obtain degrees and professional licenses, when we earn accolades because of a specific skill or expertise, we are applauded.  We are held as important, valuable, worthy of acknowledgement.

With such achievement, society also promises a better than average income, a lifestyle without needs, security and peace of mind…or does it?

The problem with irreplaceability becomes a trap.  If you’ve built a business or professional practice that is dependent to a large degree on your physical labor and activity on a daily basis, you’ve created a job.  Very possibly a well-paying job…but nonetheless, it’s a job.

Let me take this one step further – EVERYONE in your organization needs to be replaceable!  A tough conversation to have, but you need to be the leader and show your vulnerability first.

Sure, you’re the boss, so you have assumed security, but, you’re no different than your employees.  Your customers, clients or patients are ultimately your boss and if your team and business don’t serve, in a capitalistic society where people have choices, you and the business will suffer – you may become obsolete.

So, are you ever really secure?  I say, “no.”

In 2004, my daughter Jenna underwent a life-saving liver transplant at age 12.  The year-long recovery was physically and emotionally draining.  I was absent from my practice about 50% of the time that year.

Was I worried that my patients might see and even prefer my associate dentist?

Was I concerned that I might not be the needed “top dog” in the practice?

No – not at all.  I was grateful that in my absence my associate, staff and even our patients continued to do business…without me.  No longer did everything revolve around me.

This was the most freeing moment of my life.  It was no longer believed the myth that I had to “do it all.”  I now had the option to change my life.  So, I did.

I vowed to continue to be an absentee owner (a real business owner) and eventually sold the practice in 2010 (not without one failed sale attempt in 2007 – but that’s a conversation for another time).

Fast forward and peek inside today’s Freedom Founders Mastermind Community.  At our February meeting, one of the questions or concerns from our members was, “What happens if something happens to David?”  That is, what if I become in some way incapacitated?

If I am “the business” and no sustainability plans have been created, then the business might fail in my absence.  I don’t want a business that is solely dependent on me – I’m all about building a legacy that will survive me.

After our mastermind meeting, our leadership team also finished our first quarter Level 10 meeting (see the book “Traction” and Entrepreneur Operating System).  One of our next quarter Rocks is to deal straight up with the issue of “anti-fragility” (see the book, “Anti Fragile” by Taleb).

Our mission is to identify our company’s weaknesses, vulnerabilities and to create off-setting plan B’s or redundancies against future unknowns, uncertainties and volatility.  It’s about handling to the best of our ability as many of the “what-if’s” that we can.

One of the first places we began was with our leadership team – today, there are four of us, including me.  The question we put forth was, how can each one of us be replaced?  If something occurred which took any one of us out of the business, either temporarily or permanently, what back-up plan is in place and how viable is it?  How fragile is the company if a key team member is lost?

Most business owner/entrepreneurs are visionary…or want to be visionary.

You’ve got to be always re-inventing yourself and your business.  But you can’t do that when you’re down in the trenches doing the work, providing the fulfillment each and every day.

What are the benefits of becoming “replaceable?”  So far, we have only addressed the importance of being replaceable to negate the downside of one’s incapacity or loss.  Are there any positives to being replaceable?  Absolutely YES!

As soon as you can put away the ego and pride, this is what you will discover in becoming replaceable in your business or practice:

  • Security and Peace of Mind = less stress.
  • Real Freedom – being able to do what you want, when you want and with whom you want to do it.
  • A more valuable company – any business with a high degree of dependency on key person is not a highly valued company.  For instance, dental practices sell at no more than a 1-2 times multiple of net income.  Most real businesses sell for many times that multiple.  Why?  It goes back to a real business vs. a self-employed job.  The more irreplaceable you are because “nobody else can do what you do” provides for a great deal of self-esteem, but is a ball and chain against the path to freedom.
  • Vision and Significance – the opportunity for you as the owner to work more “on” the business which will allow you to better lead your business, innovate and create legacy and significance.

So, what’s the plan for my replacement?  I know a lot of people…I’m well-connected.  We already have a Board of Advisors (Trusted Advisors) within Freedom Founders who play a large role.  My leadership team handles all the company operations. I am already at a distance from the daily operations of the company.  To replace me would require another visionary with connections to the entrepreneurial business world, professional practice and real estate.

I know and have already identified a small number of first choice people who would be willing and very capable to step in at my absence – either temporarily or in some cases, indefinitely.  The right person could step in and replace me with little upset to the company and its member clients.

Each person on our leadership team has also created a replacement or succession plan for themselves, with full documentation and training – plug and play.

Instead of feeling vulnerable about replacing yourself, embrace the process!  It won’t happen immediately, but if you have expressed this need to your team and they have bought in that everyone needs to be replaceable, you will find that the business will take on a new level of performance (and reduced stress).

For you as the owner?  You will be able to step away from the day to day operations and experience real freedom as a true business owner – not a slave to a business as a self-employed worker.

Replaceable = Freedom


You can contact David through his website at https://www.freedomfounders.com