Feds: Vermont Dental Employees Stole Money, Obtained Drugs

Tammy Laroque and Lindsey Cox

SWANTON: Federal Law Enforcement Officers arrested two local women in connection with stolen prescription pads and money from a local dental office.

According to court records, Agents arrested Lindsey Cox of Swanton on December 4th. Tammy Larocque of St. Albans was arrested the same day.

Both women are accused of obtaining oxycodone by way of fraud.

In addition, Lindsay Cox is also accused of a second count of obtaining fraudulent oxycodone, as well as one count of embezzlement.


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Editor’s note — Lindsey Cox has apparently done this before — please see http://archive.tcpalm.com/news/st-lucie-county-pharmacy-tech-charged-with-stealing-almost-12000-pain-pills-ep-382466243-343196772.html?fbclid=IwAR0DJPS7SJzqQCNuG26Fm9m4w2DB3-1GquWNxUjh0nM92KS-zydyyXfKGDE

Clearly the dental office was unaware of this prior conviction.


The County Courier is the first news agency to report on this case.

Federal court records did not indicate how much money was missing, or the quantity of oxycodone the pair is accused of aquiring.

The pair worked at RVI Dental Center in St. Albans, according to court records.

Few details were available in the case, but the indictment for the pair indicated that the offenses dated back to at least May of 2016 and were not discovered until at least August of 2017.

According to the court records, Cox and Larocque were creating fake prescriptions by forging the signature of the doctor and filling the prescriptions at local pharmacies.

Prosecutors indicated in the indictment that there may be other people who helped with them to illegally obtain the drugs. It is unclear if more people will be charged in connection with these defendants.

It’s possible that others could be implicated and prosecuted in the course of the investigation and prosecution of these alleged crimes as prosecutors wrote

The case is being prosecuted by the Federal Prosecutor’s office in Burlington.

Both women were released on conditions, including that they do not discuss the case with anyone who may be a witness to the alleged crimes. They also must maintain or actively seek employment. Additionally, the women are prohibited from consuming drugs or alcohol while out on release.

Larocque is being represented by Robert Katims. Cox is being represented by the Federal Public Defender’s office.

Content retrieved from http://countycourier.net/2018/12/feds-dental-employees-stole-money-drugs/

Bond set for Indiana Dental Office Manager Accused of Bilking Medicaid out of $365,527

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Justyn Arch

VALPARAISO — After having spent the last several days behind bars, Justyn Arch was given the chance Wednesday morning to bond out of jail while awaiting trial on a charge of bilking Medicaid out of $365,527.

The 32-year-old made an initial court appearance from the jail via a video conferencing system on the single felony count of Medicaid fraud.

Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer entered pleas of not guilty on Arch’s behalf and set bond at $2,500 cash.

A trial was set for March 18, with preliminary hearings Dec. 14 and Jan. 25.

Arch was represented in court by defense attorney Bob Harper and the short hearing attracted a group of onlookers.

Arch was working as an office manager at the Crown Point location of Arch Complete Family Dentistry when he repeatedly billed the government assistance program for a type of surgery never performed by the dental practice, according to an investigator with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Indiana attorney general’s office.

The dental practice was based in Chesterton and briefly had an office in Knox.

The billings were filed on behalf of 171 Medicaid recipients between Feb. 17, 2015, and Sept. 13, 2017, according to court documents.

They involve osseous surgery, which is “rarely performed by general practitioners,” and is a particularly invasive procedure “performed to bone and overlying tissues of the teeth to gain access to the diseased root and bone area, to remove bacteria and infected gums, and to reduce pocketing.”

The charging document includes a list of patients, who said they never had the surgery done or were not even patients of Arch Complete Family Dentistry.

A dentist, who used to work for Arch Complete Family Dentistry, reportedly told investigators that he never performed the surgery in question or saw it performed at the practice. The dentist said he was aware of the fraudulent claims submitted by Arch claiming he provided services he did not, which led to his decision to leave the practice, according to charging information.

Other employees also said they never saw the osseous surgery performed at the practice.

Arch had been in the same courtroom nearly three years earlier when he testified he had nothing to do with the Jan. 16, 2015, shooting death of 23-year-old Melinda Lindsey in the same house he now lives along Ind. 149 in Portage Township.

Arch had owned the house at the time of the murder and testified during the trial of Melinda’s husband Steven Lindsey, who was found guilty and sentenced in April 2016 to 55 years behind bars.


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Content retrieved from https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/bond-set-for-portage-area-man-accused-of-bilking-medicaid/article_2cee0e28-6225-546a-9fca-b89a84d98c4c.html

Prosperident Catches Another One — Colorado Embezzler Arrested

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Layla Masset

This brief paragraph in the Pueblo, Colorado Chieftain tells the story of another embezzler caught by Prosperident:

Layla Masset, 45, of North Carolina, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of theft in an amount between $20,000 and $100,000. She was being held at jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.


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(source: https://www.chieftain.com/0cee9fd4-9791-11e8-9c42-af77a5262cf4.html)

The work of Prosperident Senior Investigator Mindy Salzman was responsible for this one.  Great job, Mindy!

Oklahoma Dental Employee Charged with Stealing Patients’ Credit Card Info

Joker

A former Midwest City (Okla.) Family Dentistry employee was charged with stealing patients’ credit card information to pay court and phone bills, according to KFOR.

Here are six things to know:

1. The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry began investigating after an initial complaint from Midwest City Family Dentistry that an employee was potentially stealing patients’ credit care information.

2. Investigators found the former employee may have stolen patient’s credit card information during her time as an office worker at Gentle Family Dentistry in Norman, Calif.

3. According to court documents, she used the dentist’s credit card to pay her family’s court fees and made phone bill payments while at Gentle Family Dentistry.

4. Court documents also allege the former Gentle Family Dentistry employee stole patient information and made two $500 charges to a California bill-pay service.

5. The former employee has prior convictions, including concealing stolen property, false personation, uttering bogus checks and uttering false instruments.

6. A warrant is out for her arrest. She is charged with embezzlement and identity theft.


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content retrieved from https://www.beckersdental.com/dentists/34017-oklahoma-dental-employee-charged-for-stealing-patient-s-credit-card-info-6-things-to-know.html

Can You Believe it? Two Nuns are Accused of Embezzling $500k From a Church School

Joker

We encounter many dentists who believe that their practice is “safe” from embezzlement.  These dentists often point to situational factors that they believe protect their practices from being embezzled.  Some of the factors that we hear are that:

  • Staff have been with me for a long time
  • I pay my staff really well
  • I totally trust my team
  • My office manager is very religious

While the prospect of being embezzled is unsettling and we all want to be able to convince ourselves that it can’t possibly be happening in our practice, the statistics suggest otherwise.  More than two thirds of all practices will eventually be embezzled, and embezzlement is often perpetrated by long-term, trusted employees.

Evolutionarily, one of the reasons that mankind has survived is that every human is capable of dishonest acts when subjected to sufficient pressure.  Clearly, some people will tumble into breaking the rules relatively easily whereas others will require a much more dire set of circumstances to act dishonestly.

The following story shows how people who the conventional wisdom would suggest would never embezzle have done so.  So let’s not make the mistake of assuming that personal characteristics offer some kind of immunity from embezzlement.


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Nuns embezzle ‘substantial’ amount of funds from church school, monsignor says

(CNN)Two nuns misappropriated “substantial amounts” of funds from a Catholic school in Southern California for their own use, the monsignor of St. James Catholic Church said in a letter to parishioners.

An internal investigation found that over several years, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang used funds set aside for St. James Catholic School, Monsignor Michael Meyers said in the letter.
 
CNN has been unable to reach the women by phone or by email for comment.
 
Sister Mary Margaret retired in June after 28 years as principal of the K-8 school, which serves students from Torrance and Redondo Beach. A routine audit upon her retirement raised “several red flags” of “checks being cashed into different accounts,” said Adrian Alarcon, director of media relations for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The amount is thought to be in the range of $500,000, but an investigation is underway to determine the full amount, Alarcon said.
 
Sister Lana was an eighth grade teacher at the school who retired this year, too, after 20 years, CNN affiliate KABC reported.
 
The church and archdiocese chose not to press for criminal charges against the sisters, Meyers said. Instead, they plan to “address the situation internally through the investigation, restitution and sanctions on the sisters.”
 
“Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers,” Meyers wrote in the letter. “They and their Order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school.”
 
No one else was implicated in the alleged theft, the letter reads. The sisters’ order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is working with the Los Angeles Archdiocese to “arrange for full restitution for the benefit of the School of the funds that are found to have been misappropriated,” the letter reads.
 
The nuns are still with the order, which has promised the Archdiocese sanctions in a form to be determined, Alarcon.
 
The order said on its website that the sisters “confirmed the misappropriation of funds and have cooperated in the investigation.”
 
“Our community is concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school. The Sisters of St. Joseph both desire and intend to make complete restitution to St. James School.”
 
The monsignor’s letter reads: “I want to assure you that the investigation has disclosed that, notwithstanding this misappropriation, no student or program at St. James has suffered any loss of educational resources, opportunities, or innovations. In sum, the education of your children has not and will not be affected by these events.
 
“At our School, we have initiated additional procedures and oversight policies for financial management and reporting responsibilities. I appreciate the efforts of the School staff to date and will continue to work with them directly on these issues.”
 

Illinois Bookkeeper Charged with Stealing $400,000 from Dental Office; bail set at $300k

blankBail has been set at $300,000 for a Crest Hill woman charged with stealing more than $400,000 from the Hinsdale dental office where she worked part time, according to a news release from the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.

Roxana Dusanek, of 1300 block of Harvest Drive, worked as a bookkeeper at the dental office and, using a stamp of her employer’s signature, wrote hundreds of fake checks out to her and her business, IMC Services Group, according to the release.

The 56-year-old Dusanek also sent payments from her employer’s bank account to the bank account of her business, the release said.

The thefts took place over a span of three years, from February 2014 to June 2017, until authorities at the dental office uncovered them and contacted the Hinsdale Police Department, according to the release.

Dusanek has been charged with two counts of theft in excess of $100,000, one count of continuing financial crimes enterprise and six counts of forgery. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 19.


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Content retrieved from  https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20181206/bail-set-for-woman-accused-of-stealing-more-than-400k-from-dental-office

Former South Dakota Bookkeeper Accused Of Embezzling From Dental Offices


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Update August 26, 2019

After being convicted of stealing $122,000, Ms. Cheryl Callies was sentenced to 90 days in jail.  The maximum sentence for her crime was 15 years in prison.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A former bookkeeper at two Sioux Falls dental offices is accused of embezzling more than $100,000 in seven years. Cheryl Callies faces up to 15 years in prison, and two counts of grand theft embezzlement. She made her first appearance in Minnehaha County Court on Thursday. Court documents detail how authorities allegedly caught Callies, and a key reason may have been a change in ownership where she worked.

Callies has worked for two dental offices in the same location. 10th Street Dental used to be Montoya Dental Office, before owner Thomas Montoya sold it in February.

In June, Montoya reported Callies, his bookkeeper of 40 years, and accused her of embezzling more than $121,750. Court papers say a financial report found several payment discrepancies from 2011 to 2018.

According to court papers, Callies’s legal troubles started a month before Montoya’s claims and with a much smaller amount of money. In May, a 10th Street Dental employee allegedly noticed a missing $100 cash payment for a dental exam. That employee discovered someone was manipulating cash and check payments. Callies is accused of embezzling more than $8,400 from 10th Street Dental.

Callies allegedly admitted to adjusting payment records at both businesses. She allegedly told investigators she would accept cash payments, change the entry in the software system, remove the money from the nightly deposits, and later adjust the daily financial report so it matched payments and receipts.

According to investigators, the deleted transaction records show an employee login initials for each transaction. The initials “CC” were listed in the “deleted by” column for these alleged manipulated transactions.

In the court papers, Callies allegedly told investigators she was stealing money for video lottery, and because of “payday loans and loneliness.” She also claims she and Dr. Montoya had an understanding she wouldn’t have to charge her family for dental visits.


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Content retrieved from https://www.keloland.com/news/local-news/former-bookkeeper-accused-of-embezzling-from-dental-offices/1627651585

Florida Man Uses Identity Theft to Obtain $41,000 of Dental Implants

blank Timothy Powell, 52, of Plantation, FL, has new $41,000 teeth and an almost $10,000 dog. He paid for none of it. One of his victims, a man by the name of Harry Brenner, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, police said. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Powell used stolen identification to rack up the fraudulent charges for the teeth implants and the pet. He applied for credit to get his teeth fixed through the Friedman Dental Group and filled out credit card applications Aug. 1, according to court documents. Powell produced a fake Connecticut driver’s license with the name Harry Brenner. He also provided Brenner’s social security number. The credit applications were approved, and Powell received dental implants during three appointments from Aug. 2 to Aug. 9, documents show. The implants were not completed and some of his teeth were only temporary, he said. In total, the procedure costed $41,154.01. Shortly after, Brenner, who lives in DeBary, FL, began receiving bills from the dental company and alerted police. Investigators with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Friedman Dental Group and later identified Powell as a suspect through fingerprints from his applications. Police later found out that Powell used Brenner’s identity to purchase a French bulldog for $9,958.69 from Petland in Plantation, FL. Powell told the police he was given Brenner’s information by a man named “Rico,” who also provided him with the fake driver’s license. He said Rico encouraged him to get his teeth fixed at the Friedman Dental Group and drove him to and from the place. Rico told him that if he got his teeth fixed, he’d “look better for conducting fraudulent transactions at other locations in Florida.” Investigators received photos from the dental company showing Powell with damaged and rotting teeth. He said that Rico got Brenner’s information from the “dark web.” Powell also fraudulently withdrew $9,650 from a bank in Daytona Beach, FL, on Sept. 27, using the name “Larry Gene Kelly,” according to the Daytona Beach Police Department. He told authorities that he purchased Kelly’s identification from an “unknown male” for $100. Powell is charged with grand theft, using ID without consent and false report of a crime. He is also charged with unauthorized possession of a driver’s license and fraudulent use of personal identification, among other charges.
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Content retrieved from https://www.wsfa.com/2018/11/21/florida-man-uses-fake-id-steals-k-dental-implants-k-french-bulldog/

Audit: University of Iowa Dental College Staffer Misspent $57,000

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IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa has shored up its training and procurement practices after discovering a College of Dentistry administrative specialist amassed $57,313 in improper and unsupported spending on things like bath bombs, essential oils, luggage, iPad and camera equipment, and a canning system.

The Iowa State Auditor’s Office began investigating spending in the college’s Department of Periodontics for the period between Aug. 1, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2016 after UI officials flagged potential improper transactions, according to a report made public Thursday.

The suspect spending involved Amanda Shumaker, hired as the department’s administrative specialist on Aug. 27, 2012. Among her responsibilities, Shumaker bought the college’s books and supplies and arranged travel for staff. She had access to a university procurement card with a spending limit of $10,000 a month and a director Pcard capped at $4,000 a month, according to the audit.

Amid tightening budgets and Board of Regents demands its campuses run more efficiently, UI in 2015 developed a new Shared Services Department focused on trimming administrative costs, minimizing redundancies, improving policy compliance, and reducing errors. That department assigned staff to specific colleges, including the College of Dentistry in June 2016.

During a routine review of purchases in July 2016, Shared Services flagged a mismatch in what Shumaker said she bought and what the vendors said she got. Specifically, Shumaker reported purchasing textbooks but actually bought clothes, according to the audit.

Investigators suspect Shumaker had been doctoring documents to hide her personal use of university money for years.

UI placed her on administrative leave Aug. 1, 2016, and she died at age 34 on Aug. 20, 2016, according to the Scott County Medical Examiner’s Office. No criminal charges were filed against Shumaker before her death, according to online court records.

Based on personal purchases investigators believe Shumaker made in June and July 2016, the university withheld from her payroll and vacation payout $11,246.77. Shumaker’s family after her death launched a GoFundMe page for her three young children’s education. It has raised more than $5,000.

In breaking down the auditor findings, Shumaker is accused of making $52,897.26 improper disbursements and another $4,416.10 unsupported payments, meaning investigators couldn’t determine whether the charges were for personal use or department operations.

Throughout the report, auditors note misspending could have been higher — but verifying documentation didn’t always exist.

Shumaker’s improper purchases included $38,473.86 on Amazon for things like a “premium series” bed pillow, manicure and pedicure sets, kitchen utility spatula set, and gift cards to Starbucks, Nordstrom Rack, and Sur La Table; $5,202.50 on things like a Samsung Nook, magazine subscriptions, books on yoga and beer brewing, and journals from Barnes & Noble; and $9,220.90 on things like iPad accessories and essential oils from vendors like Plant Therapy.

Auditors, in their review, found the university could have done more to prevent the misspending — noting department officials did not always review claims closely. Had they, according to the audit, they would have found repeat purchases of the same book for the same doctor or library; mathematically inaccurate invoices; and other flags of suspicious spending.

Among the state’s recommendations is implementing procedures ensuring sufficient purchase documentation or explanation, allowing thorough supervisor reviews.

“Given the number of documents altered by Ms. Shumaker, the university should require original supporting documentation scanned into the university accounting system be retained for a year,” according to the audit.

Auditors also suggested the university establish and maintain inventory records to ensure proper insurance coverage and safeguard property; conduct periodical equipment inventory checks; and implement procedures to ensure the university disposes of equipment properly — including equipment kept in employee homes.

UI officials in response to Thursday’s audit release — which comes as the campus grapples with state funding cuts that have prompted a tuition hike, pay freeze, construction moratorium, center closures, and layoffs — reported the university ramped up training in budget review and oversight for all department chairs “immediately following the discovery of the unauthorized purchases.”

“The University of Iowa takes seriously its fiduciary responsibility to spend taxpayer and research dollars wisely and has several procedures in place to ensure this happens,” UI spokesman Anne Bassett said in a statement.


Content retrieved from https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/education/audit-university-of-iowa-dental-college-staffer-misspent-57000-20180719

Why Caution Is Needed When Checking References

Reference Check Essentials: Helping You Master Your Hiring Process

We recently received the following email from a dentist:

“My embezzler passed my references check. I asked for 6 references, and she passed with flying colors. And then proceeded to rob me blind. I thought that maybe y’all needed to make a post about it, or SOMETHING, to the world of dentistry, because seriously, this is why we can’t trust references. When people fabricate deception like this, how can we trust anything as employers, to be able to find someone worthy of hiring?”

The dentist was referring to a website that, for a fee, will supply false references to help someone pass reference checks. Here is what one such site claims:

“Paladin Deception Services is here to assist you in obtaining the fictitious reference, the little white lie, or the alibi that you need. Our agency can provide you with either male or female testimonials over the phone in the local area code that you require. We’re confidential, professional, innovative, and affordable. Most importantly, we keep it legal. Get the verification that you need!”

People with tainted pasts are aware that dental offices are great places to seek jobs because background checking done by most offices is superficial and easily defeated.

Here is what one (illiterate) convicted felon said about working in dental offices:
“Dental game is great. No back round checks unless u work with kids. Great money easy hrs and its the same thing over and over.”

We’d like to mention two sobering statistics about the people who apply for jobs with you: one in four US adults has a criminal record, and some studies suggest that the prevalence of resume falsification or enhancement exceeds 50%.

To help you avoid a hiring mistake similar to that of the dentist who emailed me, here are some essential steps to follow when checking references:

1. Check photo identification (and some other institutionally issued card or ID) for every applicant you interview. One of the easiest ways to hide an unsavory past is to use someone else’s name.

2. You must speak with all former employers for the past five years. There is no value whatsoever to “character” references; the only people you want to speak with are former employers. What someone’s 8th-grade science teacher thinks about them isn’t of much value.

3. Have a conversation with every single work reference listed for the past five years. Written reference letters, even if addressed personally to you, are worthless. Many people leaving a workplace “borrow” a supply of letterhead and envelopes so they can forge reference letters as needed. One study found that 17% of the employers surveyed had detected forged reference letters. You need to pick up the phone and call. No exceptions.

4. On the subject of calling, never call any phone number given to you by an applicant. You may end up speaking with a relative or friend pretending to be a former employer or a “deception” service like the one described earlier. Find phone numbers independently, and call those numbers to ensure you are speaking to the correct former employer.

5. Ensure that the office you are calling is a real business. If it is a dental office, the dentist will be registered with their State Board. Another place you can check is www.ratemds.com, which has patient reviews for virtually every dental practice. If the work experience was with a non-dental business, do they have a website? Another good place to check for legitimacy is Equifax, which maintains listings on almost every legitimate company. (https://sb.econsumer.equifax.com/bizdirect/companySearch.ehtml?advancedSearch=true).

6. When you call the office of a former employer, make sure you speak to the right person. If you are calling a dental office, speak to the practice owner first. He or she may hand you off to their office manager but start with the dentist. For any non-dental small business, identify and speak to the owner. Larger companies typically have HR departments that provide job reference information. Often, calling an HR department means that the information you obtain is limited, and you will probably not have the benefit of speaking with anybody who supervised your applicant, but make the call nonetheless.

7. You should ask the following questions to every former employer you speak with:
a. What were the start date and end date of employment? Please ask the former employer for these dates; do not provide them and ask for confirmation. Applicants trying to hide something will often manipulate employment dates.
b. Confirm job title for the position(s) held by the applicant. Job applicants often embellish their resumes so that, even though their former position was “receptionist,” on their resume it becomes “office manager.”
c. Ask each former employer who the applicant worked for previously and subsequently. Often former employers do not know this information, but sometimes they do. Comparing what you learn with the resume provided may uncover a discrepancy.
d. Ask who ended the employment relationship. This question may not be one that gets answered, but you may learn something valuable if it is.
e. You should always ask whether the organization or individual you are calling would re-hire the applicant. If you are speaking with an HR department, you may get better results if you ask the question in the negative, i.e., “Is there any reason why this person is not eligible to be rehired by you?”.

8. You must get a reference from an applicant’s current or most recent employer. Often an applicant will ask you not to contact their current employer because “he/she does not know that I am leaving”. This statement may be true, but alternatively, this may be a strategy to prevent you from calling a “current” employer only to find out that your applicant was fired from their employ two weeks ago. An applicant who asks you not to contact their current employer must be told that you do not hire anyone without speaking with their most recent employer. You may offer to defer this conversation, but you must make it clear that a discussion with their current employer must take place before you finalize an offer of employment.

While most applicants for the vacancy you need to fill are honest and will make excellent employees, there are those who need to be filtered out.

We see “serial embezzlers” all too frequently, and many of them would not have secured employment with the practices they stole from if those offices had known about and implemented the hiring strategies we have outlined here. Historically low unemployment rates and the perception that there is a shortage of qualified applicants for positions in dental offices put a great deal of pressure on practice owners to rush the hiring process. I would like to urge you to resist the temptation to expedite your hiring process. The cost of hiring a rotten apple far exceeds the value of conducting a proper screening.

To watch a webinar on how to prevent people with “baggage” from getting jobs in your practice, click on the button below.

Forensic Hiring Webinar