Ex-employee of Arkansas dentist gets 12 years for $218,000 theft; ‘you kind of disgust me,’ judge says

Angela Kay Henson

The former office manager for a Little Rock dentist was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday for stealing at least $218,000 from the practice over a five-year period.

The prison term is symbolic — one year in the penitentiary for each year Angela Kay Henson worked for Cobb Family Dentistry on Baseline Road and Dr. Donald Cobb, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims said.

He told the 48-year-old Little Rock woman, who had been paid $42,500 a year, that she had done more than just steal money, but also robbed Cobb and his wife of their ability to trust and the efforts of their years of hard work.

“You kind of disgust me,” Sims told Henson before pronouncing sentence. “They cared for you. You abused their trust. You took more than just their money. You took their lives as they knew them.”

Henson pleaded guilty last month, and she has repaid Cobb $168,000, the amount remaining after the insurance reimbursed him. That payment was a loan from a cousin, she told the judge.

Henson received character endorsements from her pastor, Tommy Jones of Grace Church, and her husband Andy’s cousin Kyle Jones, who each described her as being genuinely contrite.

Henson was tearful and apologetic during her eight minutes of testimony. She denied accusations by the Cobb family that she had deliberately tried to sabotage the dental practice.

“I am sorry. I never meant to be mean. I never meant to cause you stress,” she said. “I come from a good family. I raised good kids. I know Dr. Cobb cared about me … and what I did was wrong. But I wasn’t always bad.”

The Cobbs have known Henson since she was 19, and over the years have lent her money when she needed it, such as when her husband was laid off, according to testimony.

Confronted by prosecutor Sharon Strong, Henson said she could not explain why she stole the money.

“I don’t have a logical reason for that,” Henson told the judge. “I can’t make any rhyme or reason out of that.”

Henson denied Strong’s accusations that she had spent Cobb’s money on a swimming pool for her home, a trip to New York or a cruise for her daughter, testifying that she had used other resources for those expenses.

Henson faced a 20-year maximum sentence. Her attorney Matthew McKay asked the judge to consider probation, taking into account her remorse, the restitution and her lack of criminal history.

Strong requested at least five years in prison, the minimum sentence for the Class B felony theft, arguing that Henson feels bad about what she did only because she was caught.

Sims pointed out that the dentist was out substantially more than just the money Henson stole. The cost of the accounting that uncovered the theft was $20,000, while Donald Cobb testified that after Henson was fired, the dentist’s wife discovered about $10,000 in expired insurance checks.

The judge also noted that Henson could have stolen more than authorities know. Cobb could afford only for a five-year forensic audit, which allowed for a review of the finances from January 2013 to January 2018 when Henson’s scheme was uncovered.

Henson had been more than an employee; she was also a friend, Donald Cobb testified. He said he had trusted her absolutely to do a job he could not do himself — managing the business.

Henson’s thievery was discovered in January 2018 after he decided to sell his practice because profits had been falling dramatically, he told the judge.

“I was working harder than I ever did, and I was making less money than I did 10 years ago,” he said.

He hired an accountant to put together his financial records, but Henson dragged her feet about providing the requested documents, he said. Once she did turn over the records, what she had done was obvious, Cobb told the judge.

“It kind of broke my heart and broke my spirit. I didn’t want to have a practice anymore,” he said. Cobb did sell the business in November.

Bills were unpaid. Patients had not been billed. Tax penalties were owed. Cobb described finding 46 pages of insurance claims that had gone unfiled while insurance checks had not been been cashed.

“It was like there was an attempt to bankrupt my practice,” Cobb told the judge.

His wife, who took over for Henson, also told the judge that Henson’s stealing seemed to be malicious.

“It was just total disorganization,” Margaret Cobb testified. “Ms. Henson literally caused us so much anguish and put us through hell.”

She said Henson would steal cash payments, but credit patients’ accounts. Henson even stole the rent one tenant paid, Margaret Cobb said.

She “robbed us of our money … our joy … and also of our trust,” Margaret Cobb told the judge.

Content retrieved from: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/may/29/ex-employee-of-dentist-gets-12-years-fo/

Florida Bookkeeper is Accused of Embezzling $156,000 from Oral Surgeon

Heather Hushelpeck

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WGFL) — A Gainesville bookkeeper is accused of embezzling more than $156,000 from an oral surgeon over the last couple of years

Alachua County Sheriff’s investigators on Friday arrested and charged 45-year-old Heather Hushelpeck with grand larceny over $100,000, embezzlement and fraud. Hushelpeck is being held without bond at the Alachua County Jail pending a court appearance Saturday morning.

An arrest report says Hushelpeck was fired in December from her job as bookkeeper at the oral surgery office of Marvin M. Slott D.D.S after she couldn’t explain a $1,300 charge onto her credit card and a $7,500 transaction in a former employee’s name.

“Heather didn’t have any reasonable explanation why that money was gone,” says Financial Detective Kyle Reedy, from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

The report says she returned to the office three days later to reinstall the accounting software she had deleted. The report says Hushelpeck started crying and told the staff she “f***ed up.”

The report says Hushelpeck admitted to taking money for at least a year, through a variety of ways, including writing checks to herself, charging back refunds to herself, taking money clients paid, and only partially deposit funds. Investigators say Hushelpeck told her former employer the total amount taken was over $100,000.

Court documents allege Hushelpeck took payments from the oral surgeon’s office and wrote out checks payable to the Star Center Children’s Theatre and the Howard Bishop Middle School PTA by coding them as payments for supplies. Investigators say as treasurer for both organizations, Hushelpeck was able to then withdraw the money for her own use. WGFL

Hushelpeck attempted to settle the case with Slott’s attorney without involving police. Deputies say she wrote an email to the attorney offering to settle by paying back $75,000 and borrowing another $25,000.

An email from Slott’s attorney to Hushelpeck, however, says a preliminary analysis found she stole more than $403,000. The email gave Hushelpeck 30 days to pay the full amount or be sued. Investigators say so far they’ve only been able to prove the $156,000 amount.

“I have never seen an embezzlement case like this,” says Reedy.

Slott in December filed a 42-page lawsuit against Hushelpeck, her husband Erik, Star Center Children’s Theatre and the Howard Bishop Middle School PTA. The lawsuit alleges Hushelpeck paid the PTA more than $6,700 and Star Theatre more than $26,000. Eric Hushelpeck has not been charged with a crime. Both he and his wife responded to the lawsuit by asking for more time.

The PTA responded by denying any knowledge of the allegations and asking the court to dismiss it from the case. It also says Hushelpeck is no longer its treasurer.

Star Center has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit, according to court records.

“You are going to get caught at some point,” says Reedy. “And when you do, it’s going to cost you more to get yourself out of the situation.”

Indiana Employee fired for embezzlement; hacks dentist’s social media

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – An ex-employee from Downie Family Dentistry is accused of hacking into the dentistry’s phones and sending messages to customers saying the dentistry was closing due to the dentist having a drug problem. The dentist’s office says neither are true.

The employee was fired from Downie on Thursday over an embezzlement scandal, office personnel said, but before he left, he promised revenge, according to the dentist’s office.

“He told us many times ‘I’m going to take the ship down,'” said Downie Chief Operating Officer T.J. Wagner. “If you let go of me, I will take the ship down with me.'” 

Downie Family Dentistry said the employee had access to the website and its Facebook page and changed both to display the message “Unfortunately, due to the escalation of Dr. Downie’s chronic substance abuse problem, from cocaine to methamphetamines, we’ve had to close our doors. If you believe you have been treated by Dr. William Downie while he was under the influence of a controlled substance, you should immediately call the Indiana Dental Association.” 

The Downie Dentistry’s Facebook page has been taken down. Dr. William Downie called the accusation of him abusing drugs “ridiculous.” He said the schedule for Friday is “slammed” and he does not plan to make any changes to business hours. In addition to the misinformation, Downie says the ex-employee stole a company vehicle. He says he went with police to recover the car. When he returned to the dentistry, he found out what else had been done. Downie and the rest of the dentistry’s management staff are talking with police to determine the next steps that should be taken. Some customers are worried about what could happen next. 

“We have, if anything, in the process of learning how to run a business, which again is quite a learning process and always is a learning process, learned about parameters in place that secure patient information to make sure that things like that are the topmost of importance,” said Downie. 

When the employee was let go over embezzlement accusations, Downie said the Dentistry was not planning to press charges because “everyone deserves a second chance.” Now, the plan is to get the word out that Downie Family Dentistry is not closing and Dr. Downie has never used illegal drugs. 

Content retrieved from: https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/ex-downie-dentistry-employee-spreads-fake-message/1975207162


Editor’s note — the ex-employee has been identified in other media coverage as Shannon Martin”

UK dental receptionist jailed for a year over £20,000 fraud

Adele Ballantyne copied details from patient credit cards and files and passed them on to her stepfather, John Hill.

Hill was jailed for two years for his part in the scheme which involved him ordering goods using the details and selling them on, Glasgow Sheriff Court heard.

Their co-accused, Patrice Massey, was ordered to carry out 300 hours’ community service for receiving delivery of the goods – mainly industrial catering equipment – at her home in Clydebank.

Sentencing Ballantyne, Sheriff Robert Anthony told her: “You blatantly abused a position of trust and as such the only means of disposal is a term of imprisonment.”

At an earlier hearing, Ballantyne, 22, of Earl Street, Scotstoun, admitted copying credit and debit card details while employed at the Dental Practices, Gardner Street, Glasgow, and Victoria Road, Glasgow, between August 28, 2006, and November 29, 2006.

Hill, 32, also of Earl Street, Scotstoun, pled guilty to using the details to order goods over the telephone.

Massey, 20, of Jean Armour Drive, Clydebank, admitted receiving the goods worth £18,599.62. She was paid just £100 for each delivery she received, totalling £1100.

They were originally charged with defrauding £58,979.84 but the Crown accepted their pleas of guilty to the lesser amount.

Prosecutor Aileen Thom told the court that Ballantyne had worked at the surgery for 18 months before she started stealing the patients’ details.

Miss Thom said: “A gross breach of trust has occurred due to the way dental patients’ debit and credit cards were used and all were unaware of what had occurred until they received in statements details of items they had not bought.”

Hill’s defence lawyer William McIntyre and Ballantyne’s lawyer Patrick Campbell both told the court their clients carried out the offences because they were struggling financially and had been threatened with eviction.

Massey’s lawyer, Tony Mahon, said she was a “small cog in the machine”.

Content retrieved from:
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12380419.dental-receptionist-jailed-for-a-year-over-pound20000-fraud/

Bothell WA woman gets 2 1/2 years for embezzlement and forged prescriptions

Lori Bowman

A Bellevue dentist’s former employee was sentenced Friday in federal court for faking prescriptions and abusing her employer’s credit card to pay for her children’s private school tuition and other expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The damage done by the Lori Elizabeth Bowman, 38, of Bothell, to cover up her activity cost the dentist his license to practice and left patients unable to charge their insurance companies to pay for their dental bills, according to federal prosecutors.

Bowman faces 30 months in prison, 120 hours of community service, $174,336 in restitution, and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to acquiring a controlled substance by fraud, credit card access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. 

At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said, “The financial harm you caused the dentist elevates this crime to a different level.”

According to the press release, a pharmacy notified the Drug Enforcement Administration about unusual prescribing practices by the dentist who employed Bowman. The dentist told investigators that the prescriptions were forged, and trail led to his employee, according to the press release.S

Investigators discovered that in 2010 and 2011, Bowman obtained 1,920 Vicodin ES tablets using prescriptions in her own name and in the name of her husband, brother-in-law, mother, friend, step-sister-in-law and her hair dresser at Rite-Aid and Bartell Drugs. Around that same time period, Bowman used fake prescriptions in her own name around 200 times to acquire approximately 8,580 hydrocodone pills at local pharmacies, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Investigators say that Bowman also made unauthorized charges on her employer’s office credit card, totalling around approximately $174,336. The total includes ATM cash advances of $122,880; ATM transaction fees of $4,922; and retail purchases and other charges of more than $46,534. 

According to investigators, Bowman paid for her children’s private school tuition with the money obtained, which totaled $25,606, and charged a family vacation to Las Vegas totaling $4,692 to the office credit card.

The charges averaged approximately $7,924 per month, investigators say. 

“Over many months, defendant destroyed key correspondence from medical licensing and insurance authorities in an effort to conceal her conduct. (She) failed to pay licensing, insurance, and tax obligations that placed the dentist’s practice and future retirement at great risk. As a result, the dentist’s patients were left without insurance to cover their dental bills, and the dentist lost his license to practice and incurred significant expenses to correct the effects of (Bowman’s) criminal conduct,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bowman admitted consuming 30-35 hydrocodone pills per day.  

“Prescription drug abuse is growing in our communities, leaving heavy damage in its wake,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “This defendant damaged herself, her family and her employer while a slave to this addiction. This case should be a cautionary tale:  if you are struggling with addiction, please get help.”

Content retrieved from:
https://patch.com/washington/bellevue/bellevue-dentist-s-ex-office-worker-sentenced-for-fraud-drugs

Texas Embezzler Sentenced

Prosperident is pleased to announce the conviction of Andrea Smith of Seabrook,TX (who sometimes goes by the name Andrea Samford) for embezzling a Texas dentist. Ms. Smith was convicted of theft of between $2,500 and $30,000, and was sentenced to restitution plus two years of probation.

Ms. Smith has several prior convictions including check fraun and assault.

Here is a full report from the Harris County record system:

Andrea-Smith-conviction-November-2018

Florida Woman Charged With Stealing Thousands From Patients

FORT PIERCE — An investigation into a dentist’s former billings clerk has ended with her arrest on charges of fraud and theft of thousands of dollars of patient’s cash payments, according to police reports.

In April, Dr. Norman Knowles fired Port St. Lucie resident Kelly Rivera, 31, citing questionable behavior by the woman who handled customer accounts at his office in the 1500 block of South 25th Street, Fort Pierce. Afterword, the doctor’s office contacted patients about outstanding payments and some, according to the reports, said they had paid in cash at the time they were at the office from 2010 to 2012.

According to Knowles, Rivera “was the person in the office that was responsible for customer accounts” and an investigation into six accounts “clearly showed a pattern of theft,” the report said. To entice a customer to pay in cash, Rivera allegedly doubled the office’s discount for cash payments.

Later, she allegedly altered the account records to show they still owed money.

On Tuesday Rivera, of the 800 block of Southeast Carnival Avenue, was arrested on criminal charges of grand theft and organized fraud.

Content retrieved from: http://archive.tcpalm.com/news/woman-charged-with-stealing-thousands-from-fort-pierce-dental-patients-ep-381571505-342842202.html/

Florida Dental Assistant Caught On Video Stealing From Patient’s Purse

WINTER PARK, Fla. – A dental assistant is facing charges after a patient accused the assistant of stealing from her purse. Letisha Mills was arrested a day after 9 Investigates started digging into the case.

Only 9 Investigates reporter Daralene Jones obtained a copy of the video that sparked Winter Park Police to open a criminal investigation.

Mills was captured on a cell phone camera rummaging through a patient’s purse at the office of Dr. Steven Stapp, in Winter Park.

“I felt very violated. She didn’t go in my purse once, she went in my purse twice,” the victim told investigative reporter Daralene Jones.

The patient asked Eyewitness News to protect her identity because of her line of work. She said she suspected the dental assistant stole prescription pain pills from her purse during a previous visit.

“The bottle was empty with the top on, three or four pills in the bottom of my purse,” the victim said.

During a follow up visit the victim put her phone in the bottom of her purse and hit record.

“I think she was looking to see if I had anymore medication in my purse. I was shocked,” said the victim.

Winter Park Police opened a criminal investigation after the patient filed a complaint and after 9 Investigates started asking questions.

Days after the incident the patient told us she got a bizarre voicemail from Mills.

“I did open your purse and the reason I did, I had knocked it off because actually the day before I had broke an ice maker bar. It fell off and broke and I heard something crash, and I wasn’t sure if it was your glass. And he was saying something about your pills are missing, and I did not take any pills,” said Mills in the voicemail.       

Eyewitness News went to the Dr. Stapp’s office for answers and learned Mills was arrested hours earlier on Tuesday. Mills has been his dental assistant for 10 years and Dr. Stapp said she wasn’t fired immediately after the patient showed him the video the same day of the incident. Stapp said that’s because Mills just unzipped the purse.

“She went into the purse and I thought she thought a water bottle had burst or something in the purse, she heard a noise and that’s what she told me,” Stapp said.           

So far, Eyewitness News hasn’t been able to reach Mills. She was arrested for grand theft. The judge set her bond at $1,000 and she has already bonded out of the Orange County Jail. The Florida Department of Health has no complaints on file for Mills or Dr. Stapp.

Content retrieved from: https://www.wftv.com/news/9-investigates/9-investigates-dental-assistant-accused-of-stealing-from-patients-purse/176408720

Friends in Low Places

Accused Embezzler Hector Ramos

Prosperident’s Hall of Shame is the place where we profile embezzlers and some of their antics.

Understandably, some of the people profiled there would be happier if we removed them from our website. Occasionally, we receive a genuine request for removal, but many of the removal requests involve the embezzler or someone close to them doing what they do best — lying to us about why the content should be removed. (For a particularly hilarious example of someone trying this, please click HERE.)

We recently received another good one. We have profiled someone named Hector Ramos of Murrieta, CA, who was arraigned in 2017 for allegedly embezzling $800,000 from a not-for-profit health organization in California.

Today we were contacted by someone who gave their name as John Aberdeen. Initially this person claimed to be a journalist owning the copyright for a story we posted about Hector Ramos. (click HERE for our story).

We reviewed our content. Our initial story was taken (with proper attribution, of course) from a California newspaper, but the author was listed as “Teri Figeroa”, not John Aberdeen, and we could not find any record of a John Aberdeen at that newspaper, or any other paper in California. Neither the phone number nor email address provided by Mr. “Aberdeen” checked out. Also, this person’s poor grammar and apparent slow typing speed made it unlikely that he was the author of the article.

So, we didn’t take down our content, as we had promised Mr. “Aberdeen”. Instead we rewrote it and added a bit of information.

Mr. Aberdeen quickly contacted us again through our website, but now his story changed and he claimed to be a member of Mr. Ramos’ legal team. When our customer service representative challenged him on this assertion, his story changed yet again, and he told us we would hear from his lawyers (interesting, when he had just claimed to be one).

The transcript of our online chat, reproduced below, makes for interesting reading.


Initial contact:

john aberdeen 9:09 AM joined the chat
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:09 AM joined the chat
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:10 AM Good morning
john aberdeen 9:10 AM Good Morning
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:10 AM How can we help you today?
john aberdeen 9:10 AM Can you connect me with your technical team.
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:11 AM Certainly. Are you a dentist?
john aberdeen 9:11 AM No
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:12 AM Ok. If you tell me how we can help, I can connect you with the right person here.
john aberdeen 9:14 AM I found my copy righted work on your website
you need to remove content on immediate basis.
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:15 AM I’m sorry about that. We will correct it right now. Do you have a URL or other information so that I can find the right page?
john aberdeen 9:16 AM https://www.prosperident.com/head-of-it-department-accused-of-embezzling-800k-from-california-non-profit-clinic/
original url
https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-nonprofit-theft-charges-20171201-story.html
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:16 AM Thanks for letting me know. I’ll have it removed within the next hour, and I’ll email you when it is done.
john aberdeen 9:17 AM ok thank you
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:17 AM Is there anything else we can help with?
john aberdeen 9:18 AM no thank you
(Prosperident Staffer) 9:19 AM Have a good day, Mr. Aberdeen


Second contact:
john aberdeen 9:59 AM joined the chat
john aberdeen 10:00 AM Hi
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:00 AM joined the chat
john aberdeen 10:00 AM This side john aberdeen
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:01 AM Hi Mr. Aberdeen
john aberdeen 10:01 AM i sanded you request to remove the content
but your team update the content
https://www.prosperident.com/head-of-it-department-accused-of-embezzling-800k-from-california-non-profit-clinic/
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:01 AM Yes we did.
john aberdeen 10:01 AM why
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:02 AM We updated it to remove copyrighted information.
john aberdeen 10:02 AM I think you not understand
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:02 AM I think you’re right. It doesn’t look like you actually own the copyright on this information. And I’m pretty sure you’re not a journalist. So what’s the real issue?
john aberdeen 10:03 AM i am not a journalist i am legal team
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:03 AM I see.
john aberdeen 10:04 AM your admin copy our website content
we not authorized you to use our content.
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:04 AM That’s interesting, because the first time you contacted us, you indicated that you owned the copyright. What is “our content”?
What law firm are you with? I deal with attorneys on a daily basis, and I’m pretty sure you are not one.
john aberdeen 10:08 AM if you think then we go legal
you don’t worry
(Prosperident Staffer) 10:09 AM We look forward to hearing from your lawyers. We will have a wonderful discussion with him about the first amendment.

Florida dental employee charged with Grand Theft for allegedly stealing from patients

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce man was arrested on Monday for identity theft, grand theft and fraud.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office says 23-year-old Demetrius Nolen worked for All Smiles Dentistry and it is believed that is how he identified his victims.

If you were a patient at All Smiles Dentistry and have noticed unauthorized charges on your credit accounts, please call detectives at 772-462-3230.

Content retrieved from:
https://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/deputies-man-stole-from-all-smiles-dentistry-customers