Two employees accused of embezzling $800k from Washington dentist


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Dentist claims duo stole $800,000

OLYMPIA — An Olympia dentist is suing a receptionist and a bookkeeper who used to work for him, alleging that they stole an estimated $800,000 from his practice. A separate criminal investigation involves $80,000 in possible embezzlement, but prosecutors say that number could grow much higher.

Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Wheeler confirmed Wednesday that there is a criminal investigation of alleged embezzlement from Dr. Donald Niemann’s dental practice. The two former employees are identified in Niemann’s lawsuit as Bobbi Current, 50, and Kelli Flynn, 44.

Case referred

The case has been referred to the prosecuting attorney’s office, but criminal charges have yet to be filed, Wheeler said.

Current worked as a receptionist at Niemann’s dental practice from 1994 to 2007, and Flynn worked as a bookkeeper there from 1996 to 2006, according to Niemann’s suit.

Current could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. Flynn said in a phone interview Wednesday that she used to work for Niemann but left to take another job. She said she wasn’t aware of any investigation. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Flynn said. “I guess I would have no comment whatsoever.”

Practice since 1975

Niemann has had a dental practice in Olympia since 1975. He said he thinks the embezzlement started around 2000. He said he learned of it through an audit.

Niemann said the alleged embezzlement is “deeply disappointing” and declined further comment.

According to the suit, Current and Flynn took money from Niemann’s practice and “made efforts to disguise and hide these actions from plaintiffs.”

This year, a local couple, Lori and Michael Doughty, pleaded guilty to multiple felonies after they were accused of embezzling about $1.9 million from Fisher Jones Family Dentistry in Olympia. Lori Doughty was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Michael Doughty was sentenced to 17 months. Both were ordered to pay restitution.

People who work in offices where there are a large number of financial transactions, such as dental offices, might think they can embezzle without being caught, Wheeler said.

Niemann’s lawsuit seeks repayment of funds.

 

Content retrieved from: The Olympian, September 12, 2007