A former South Ogden dental office manager is facing 28 felony charges after she allegedly used $96,000 of company money to pay for her personal expenses, including food, rent, cellphone bills and Netflix.
Nikki Lee Martinez, 40, was booked into the Weber County Jail Thursday on 25 counts of forgery, third-degree felonies; obstructing justice, a third-degree felony; unlawful use of financial transaction, third-degree felony; and theft by deception, second-degree felony, her indictment stated.
People became suspicious of Martinez after blank checks from South Ogden Dental were found inside her vehicle by police after a vehicle accident in August.
The dental office filed an official complaint against Martinez on Oct. 14 after she had been fired.
Her replacement contacted police after she found several discrepancies with checks. Martinez had applied to fraudulent loans and issued several checks to people who have never been employed or treated at the office, according to an arrest warrant. She also discovered a notebook where Martinez allegedly practiced patient’s signatures.
After reviewing the numbers, police discovered Martinez had stolen approximately $96,000 from her employer over the course of two years.
Twenty-nine checks totaling $13,700 had been issued between May 2018 and Aug. 2019 to an “Anette Christiansen” from the South Ogden Dental bank account. Police say there is no record of “Christiansen” being a patient or an employee at the business.
Upon further investigation, the American First Credit Union bank account, where the checks were being deposited, was found to belong to Annette Christensen, Martinez’s landlord.
Christensen told police she and Martinez had come to an agreement that the 40 year old would rent from her, even after a $1,000 check bounced. Martinez claimed her employer agreed to pay her rent out of her salary.
Court documents state Martinez would pay her landlord twice a month for rent, but the payment was never the same each time.
A series of 39 checks written personally to Martinez between August to October totaled $63,045.
Each of the checks, which all had forged signatures, were meant for Martinez’s pay check, the dentist told police. But, she had overpaid herself each time she handled the money.
South Ogden Dental also found approximately 429 duplicate checks written to Martinez and to other vendors and individuals.
An arrest warrant claims Martinez also used the company’s American Express credit card to pay for her personal cellphone bill, car payment, Netflix account, groceries, Uber rides and food purchases at Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut and Burger King. The total amount used came to $4,950.
A series of Walmart Auto Checks, that pass through a system after payment and are given back to the customer, were used by Martinez at Walmart and Sam’s Club. The former office manager allegedly used $4,590 from the company’s checking account to pay for the groceries.
Martinez’s electrical bill was paid for by the company for almost two years, totaling $5,031.56.
On Dec. 13, a patient at South Ogden Dental told police Martinez had been demanding payment for services and requested she deposit the money into a bank account. The former office manager said she would make sure the money would be given to South Ogden Dental.
An indictment was filed against Martinez four days later in the Second District Court in Weber County.
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Editor’s note — a search of Utah criminal records shows a 2003 theft conviction for Nikki L Martinez, who has the same birthdate as the Nikki Lee Martinez referred to in this article.