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

Not fast on his feet – when caught, dental office burglar said he was “looking for his cat”

Sean Maranzino, 32, of Patchogue, is an unemployed

Sean Maranzino

A Patchogue man tried to break into a Bay Shore dentist’s office Tuesday morning but was found stuck in a roof vent by the staff — three hours later, Suffolk police said.

Sean Maranzino, 32, of Montauk Highway, an unemployed HVAC specialist, also was charged with four other burglaries in the past week during which he entered through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning vents on the roof, a clear sign that there was a serial burglar at work, said Third and Fifth precinct detectives.

Detectives knew they were looking for someone who was skinny and a bit of a contortionist — the vents twist and turn, said Det. Sgt. Scott Beiter of the Fifth Precinct.

But in one case, when Maranzino was trying to bust into an East Patchogue pharmacy Thursday, the ducts collapsed over the Jackson Hewitt tax office next door, resulting in what seemed “like a scene from a movie,” police said.

“At some point, even 140 pounds was too much for the ducts to handle,” Beiter said. “He came through the ceiling. … The owner of the place was sleeping there because it was tax season. He heard this crash and confronted him. The guy [Maranzino] kind of made it like he was working on the HVAC system” at 3:45 a.m. He bolted out the back door, police said.

Maranzino was arrested after he tried to break into Calderon Dental on Sunrise Highway about 6 a.m. Tuesday and was found by employees who got to work at 9:30 a.m., police said. Emergency services officers had to dislodge him from the ceiling, police said.

Maranzino was charged with five counts of third-degree burglary. He took cash, protein bars and lockboxes of cash from businesses, police said.

Police said he stole from Vitamin Shoppe on Sunrise Service Road in Bohemia on Friday; High Times Vape on Medford Avenue in North Patchogue about 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, through an unlocked door of a neighboring business before crawling through the ceiling into the vape shop; and Vitamin World on Farber Drive in Bellport some time overnight on Monday.

Content retrieved from:
https://www.newsday.com/long-island/crime/hvac-burglar-patchogue-1.28713803

Oklahoma City Office Manager Charged With embezzling $65,000

Accused Ellen Chidester

OKLAHOMA CITY – The former office manager of a dentist’s office on the metro’s south side allegedly stole more than $65,000 from her employer who trusted her implicitly. That’s only the amount of money investigators say they can prove.

Dr. Christian H. Pilgrim said he’s known Ellen Chidester for about 25 years. For most of that time, she was the office manager where he worked.

He said she had complete access to the company credit card and finances, as well as payroll.

“i trusted this lady so much that I never looked at the credit card statements,” Dr. Pilgrim said. “She took care of me like, basically like a mother.”

Not keeping an eye on the bank statements was a mistake he didn’t know he made until a year after she stopped working there. While his wife, Elizabeth, who started working with him, was searching for a specific receipt, they happened upon some odd charges made with the company card.

“Liz said, ‘Have you been making any purchases to Dress Barn, and Clinique?’” Dr. Piilgrim recalled, “and to that I said, ‘No I have not.’”

Further inquiry into credit card charges turned into a full-blown investigation by Elizabeth and his staff, scrutinizing all of the charges allegedly made by Chidester.

“There were so many,” Ms. Pilgrim said, “and so few actual business expenses.”

For three months, they searched through credit card statements, called stores to retrieve receipts, and sat on the phone with Amazon.com for hours working to find all the fraudulent charges.

“Everyday I would come in and my stomach would hurt because everyday they would come in and say ‘Dr. Pilgrim, guess what we found. Guess what we found today. Did you know what you paid for today?’” Dr. Pilgrim said.

They said they found Chidester used the card to buy all sorts of things, from Disney World tickets, to gifts for her family, lotions, clothes, movies, that she used it to pay for the electric bill for her Shawnee Lake house, and for a family member’s wedding.

“Every year they would buy me a Christmas gift,” Dr. Pilgrim said, “and little did I know that I was actually paying for it on the company card.”

They could only access credit card statements from seven years back, and they left out any suspicious charges that they couldn’t obtain receipts for to prove she had spent the money personally.

“We couldn’t even get a hold of the Walgreens receipts but there were thousands of dollars every December from Walgreens,” said receptionist Jordan Patterson.

Ms. Pilgrim also found that Chidester was allegedly overpaying herself in payroll.

According to court documents, she allegedly spent about $47,870 in personal charges on the company card, and overpaid herself $18,000, $65,870 altogether.

News 4 tried to reach Chidester at her home for comment but no one came to the door.

She is charged with with two counts of felony embezzlement and has pleaded not guilty.

“I would like to have my money back and I think the people need to know exactly what she’s done,” Dr. Pilgrim said. “I think she portrays herself as something she’s not.”

Content retrieved from: https://kfor.com/2019/03/26/metro-dental-employee-accused-of-stealing-thousands-from-her-trusting-employer/