Here are some of the questions people often have for us:
Who is Prosperident?
Prosperident is the world’s oldest and largest firm specializing in investigating financial crimes committed against dentists and in helping dental practices protect themselves against embezzlement.
Prosperident’s head office is in Halifax, Canada, and its team of investigators is distributed across the US and Canada.
Prosperident limits itself to dentally-related matters and does not serve any other constituency.
What Services Does Prosperident Offer?
• Diagnostic Examination – for when practice owners have concerns about embezzlement in their practice.
• Forensic Investigation – for when embezzlement has already been discovered.
• Office Protection System – helping practice owners improve their control systems to protect against embezzlement. This product is of interest to people with no current embezzlement concerns but who desire long-term protection.
• Litigation Support – Prosperident assists lawyers working on business disputes involving dentists. Services can include forensic workups, the provision of expert reports, and supplying expert witnesses as needed. This service may apply in situations of disagreement between business partners or when the fairness of the sale of a practice is subsequently questioned by one of the parties.
What Backgrounds do Prosperident’s Team Members Have?
Prosperident’s diverse team of over twenty people has backgrounds in forensic accounting, fraud investigation, information technology, and practice management software.
Team members include Forensic CPAs, Certified Fraud Examiners, and certified practice management software trainers. Most combine these qualifications with extensive clinical or management experiences in dental practices. Approximately 40% of our examiners are former practicing dentists.
We also have an extremely capable IT department and motivated and helpful support staff.
How much does your work cost?
That varies according to the situation, size of the practice, and other factors. Most of our work is performed on a fixed-fee basis, where our client is provided with a fixed price in advance, which removes any risk that our work takes longer than we expect.
In certain situations, we cannot determine the scope of our work in advance, and in these cases, we give the best estimate that we can of what our hourly billings will be.
Most of our clients qualify for interest-free financing arrangements that allow them to spread their investment out over time.
How long does your work take?
For diagnostic and forensic work, we normally plan to complete our work in eight to ten weeks, although sometimes delays may occur, particularly if we are waiting for information to come from our client or third parties. Of course, we maintain active communication with our clients throughout the investigation, so you won’t need to wait until the end of our process to know what is going on.
What geographical areas does Prosperident serve?
Our services are available anywhere in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The vast majority of our work is done remotely, which allows us to best match our examiners’ skills with our clients’ needs. For example, an examiner in Tennessee may be the best qualified to investigate a case in California even though we have several examiners who live in California. Our cloud-based platform allows us to work with great success in this format.
How do you keep our staff from finding out that you are investigating?
A full explanation of our investigation practices is best obtained by calling and having a no-cost chat with us. We intentionally keep many of our investigation technique details private and out of the public domain so that we don’t provide thieves with great information on how to steal from you! We will say that we have put a great deal of thought and effort into ensuring that our investigations are kept covert from team members in any office we are investigating.
What can I do to prevent embezzlement in my office?
Thieves are creative, motivated, and know what controls you do and don’t have in place in your practice. Typically they can find a way around any anti-theft controls you have put in place. We have designed a host of services specifically tailored to help you fraud-proof your practice.
Our online web store offers a few inexpensive products to help you research your embezzlement risk a little further. Our CEO, David Harris, has recently published a book outlining embezzlement behavior and patterns (click this link to purchase on Amazon HERE). But the surest way to find out all of your prevention options is to call and have a no-cost consultation with a member of Prosperident’s management team.
Do you investigate embezzlement in specialty practices?
Yes, we do. Specialty practices, such as orthodontic offices, operate differently than general dentistry offices. Because the practice management software used by certain specialties is quite different from those used in general practice dental offices, we have an Orthodontic and Oral Surgery Investigation Group. This group is made up of examiners who have extensive experience working in specialty practices and who are familiar with the unique software that is employed.
My practice receives very few cash payments. Is it still possible for team members to steal from me?
Definitely! A misconception that we frequently encounter is that it is difficult or impossible to steal a check payable to a dentist or his or her professional corporation. We won’t discuss methodology here for reasons you can probably appreciate, but we will mention that stealing checks is something we see nearly every day.
Is there anything I can do if I suspect a former employee of embezzlement?
You can have the situation investigated and, if embezzlement was happening, seek recovery from your employee dishonesty insurance and other sources. About 10% of the cases we investigate are “cold cases” where the thief has been gone from the office for at least two years. The investigation gets a bit more complicated when we investigate embezzlement that happened more than five years ago, but it is usually still possible.
Should I confront someone whom I believe is stealing?
Before confronting a thief, you need to do a couple of essential things. First, you should have a secure backup source for your practice’s information so that if the thief attempts to destroy evidence, you will not lose any of your financial or patient records. Second, you need to have gathered sufficient information to make the confrontation productive for you.
If done correctly, these meetings are an excellent tool for getting information from the “perp” quickly that could take many hours to acquire through other investigation forms. To get a useful confession, you need sufficient information to convince the thief that cooperation is in their best interest.
There is a definite art to doing this properly that takes training and practice. We rarely suggest that practice owners undertake to obtain a confession from a thief without coaching or assistance. We are happy to provide these services to you.
How do you recover the money stolen?
There are several possible sources – your employee dishonesty insurance is the first place we go. Sometimes the ‘perp” has money and will voluntarily turn over 401(k) funds or other funds. Sometimes a family member bails them out.
Also, for embezzlement that involves improper depositing of checks to the thief’s bank, you sometimes have recourse against that bank.
What if the person I suspect of embezzlement is a business partner?
Yikes! This situation happens more frequently than many realize. Prosperident has a group of team members who specialize in handling these types of investigations.
Do you log in remotely to our software to check for warning signs?
We generally do not use remote connections because we consider the risk of discovery by a team member too high. We use a backup of your data, cloned by our IT Specialists, and we install it on a computer in our Data Analysis Lab. Once we have a working copy of your information, we examine it without any chance of discovery. Cloning your practice software also allows us to investigate without the contamination caused by ongoing transactions in your office. It is far easier for us to analyze “static” data.
Our IT Specialists can clone and analyze any major brand of practice management software. If you happen to use software that we currently do not have in our lab, we will acquire a copy of the software and add it to our inventory.