Here are some of the questions people often have for us:
How much does an investigation cost and how long does it take to complete?
Most of our investigations qualify for “fixed fee” treatment, with the fee fixed in advance. Fees for an investigation are determined based on several factors including the size of the practice, number of doctors practicing there, type of practice management software used and a few other factors. We will be happy to discuss your situation and determine whether your work would qualify for this treatment, and if so to provide a quote.
We normally offer payment terms to work within your cash flow.
For situations that do not qualify for fixed-fee treatment, our work is charged on an hourly basis.
Our target time to complete most investigations is eight to ten weeks. Some investigations, because of their complexity, may take longer. 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 is your geographical coverage?
We conduct investigations throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. Much of our work is done remotely, which allows us to best match the skills of our examiners with the needs of our clients. For example, an examiner in Tennessee may be the best qualified to conduct an investigation in California (even though we have several examiners who live in California), and our cloud-based model allows this to happen.
How do you make it so that my staff won’t know that you are investigating them?
While we keep some of the details private, we can say that we have put a great deal of thought and effort into insuring that our investigations are kept covert from staff in an office we are investigating.
What can I do to prevent embezzlement in my office?
There has been a lot written on controls and audit procedures that a dentist can do that are touted to reduce the probability of being embezzled. Unfortunately, we don’t see much real-life success from applying this way of thinking. Thieves are clever, motivated, and know what controls you have in place. Typically they can find a way around any system of dental office controls.
We have some inexpensive products in our web store (at www.prosperident.com/store ). Also, our CEO’s book is available on Amazon at this LINK.
For more in-depth and personalized assistance, we offer our Office Protection System. More information on OPS is available HERE.
Do you investigate orthodontic embezzlement?
Yes, we do. Because the way that orthodontic offices operate and the practice management software they use are quite different from general dental offices, we have an Orthodontic and Oral Surgery Investigation Department. It is staffed by examiners who have extensive experience working in and performing investigations in these practices, and who are familiar with the specialized software that is employed.
My practice receives very few cash payments. Is it still possible for staff to embezzle?
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. For reasons you can probably appreciate, we won’t discuss methodology here, but we will mention that stealing checks is something we see virtually every day.
Do you have a payment plan to work within my cash flow?
Yes, we offer payment plans that are designed to make investigations affordable.
How am I going to feel after I hire you?
In a word, RELIEVED. We lift a tremendous burden from the shoulders of our clients and provide them with answers and decisive action steps. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, clients normally feel much better once they have offloaded this problem to professionals.
What can you do if you suspect a past 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 difficult when we are investigating embezzlement that happened more than five years ago, but it is normally still possible.
In an ideal situation, when is the thief confronted?
Before confronting the thief, you need to do a couple of things. First, you should have a secure backup so that the thief attempting to destroy evidence is counterproductive for him or her. Second, you need to have gathered sufficient information to make the confrontation productive for you.
These meetings are a great tool for getting information from the “perp” quickly that could take many hours to acquire through investigation. To get a useful confession, you need sufficient information to be able to convince the thief that cooperation is in his or her best interest.
There is a definite art to doing this properly that takes training and practice.
What is the average embezzlement that you see?
It’s over $100,000.
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 something. 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 you expected embezzle is the business partner?
Yikes! This happens more frequently than many realize. We have a special group inside Prosperident that handles these investigations.
If we hire your firm, do you log in remotely to our software to check for warning signs? Also, how do we pay you from the practice without the financial manager knowing it?
We are not big fans of remote connections because we consider the risk of discovery by a staff member to be too high. Our preference is to get a backup of your data and to install it on a computer in our Data Analysis Lab where we can examine it without any chance of discovery (and also uncontaminated by ongoing transactions – it is far easier for us to investigate “static” data).
Our lab runs all the major types of practice management software. Do not worry if you use software that we currently do not have – we will normally acquire a copy of the software you use for our lab.
In order to keep your payment to us inconspicuous, we have an alter-ego company set up that takes credit card payments from clients. It appears real in most senses – it has a logo, website, and even email addresses, but no visible ties to Prosperident, and it allows you to pay us without the name “Prosperident” appearing on your credit card statement.
Can I get a job at Prosperident?
We are always looking for good people. Our basic prerequisites are knowledge of dental office operations, terminology, software and what we would describe as the “ability to think like a criminal”. Most of our examiners have a decade or more of experience working in or with dental offices, and many have advanced certifications in fraud investigation. We don’t think there is a specific background that makes someone suitable to be a Prosperident examiner – we have people with backgrounds including dental hygiene, office management, consulting, working for practice management software companies and dentistry (yes, almost half of our examiners are dentists!). Examiners typically work from home and can set their own hours.
If you think you have what it takes, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your resume in confidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.