Florida dental clinic employee stole thousands of dollars from patients, authorities say

A dental clinic receptionist stole thousands of dollars from customers over the course of more than a year, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

Lucina Rodriguez, 52, of Deltona was arrested Friday on two counts of grand theft after 30 bank deposits totaling more than $180,000 disappeared. The money was linked to prepayments she collected from patients, sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant said.

When she took payments she did not give receipts or file evidence of the transaction in the patient’s medical records, according to investigators.

One patient canceled a procedure in late September and requested a $400 refund. Authorities said Rodriguez used the money to send to her family in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Gant said investigators interviewed employees at the clinic and determined Rodriguez had been stealing cash since January 2016, making close to $15,000 deposits to personal bank accounts.

She was fired on Sept. 19, and money stopped disappearing afterward, Gant said.

Rodriguez was taken to the Volusia County Jail. Bail was set at $5,000.