California dental receptionist Holly Ann Keate sentenced for embezzlement

Holly Ann Keate
Holly Ann Keate

A former office manager is in jail for drilling more than $47,000 out of a Roseville dentist’s business accounts. Holly Ann Keate, 24, of Rocklin, was sentenced Nov. 12 to one year in Placer County Jail for embezzling $47,431 from Roseville dentist Dr. Thomas Schlehofer. Keate reportedly siphoned away the money for her own personal use between Aug. 25, 2008 and Jan. 22, according to Art Campos, Placer County District Attorney’s Office spokesman. In April, Roseville police arrested Keate just before she was to board a flight from Sacramento to Hawaii for a vacation.

The former office manager pleaded no contest to a grand theft by embezzlement charge in September, Campos said Wednesday. Schlehofer, who owns Sierra Gate Family Dental, told Judge Colleen Nichols in a letter that Keate had deceived people and abused her position as a manager. Keate reportedly pocketed cash payments from patients during her tenure at the office. It wasn’t until she quit several months prior to her Hawaiian vacation that office staff discovered the theft, according to earlier reports about Keate’s arrest. Keate used the money to take a vacation and have laser treatment and elective plastic surgery, Campos said. Schlehofer told the judge that the more than $47,000 Keate took meant coworkers could not receive bonuses and the office could not donate money to its sponsored charities, including an orphanage, Campos said.

The dentist said that ultimately, Keate’s actions and theft “nearly collapsed the office.” “She has abused her managerial position with malicious neglect of patients, their personal files, their credit cards and their cash,” Schlehofer wrote. “She preyed on the senior citizens of our community knowing they did not have insurance and would pay cash.” Keate was ordered to repay the dentist and will also be placed on five years of probation as part of her sentence. ~ Jenifer Gee

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