Oklahoma woman pleads guilty to embezzling more than $280,000 from dental office

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $280,000 from a dental office.

Officials with the United States Department of Justice say Annette M. Straily, of Comanche, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and singing a false federal income tax return in connection with a $283,000 embezzlement scheme from a Duncan dental office.

Officials say on May 24, Straily was charged with one count of bank fraud and one count of filing a false federal income tax return.

From April 2012 until June 2017, Straily worked as the office manager of a dental office in Duncan, Oklahoma.

As part of her job, she prepared checks, paid invoices, managed the accounting system, and maintained the petty cash fund.

Yesterday, officials say Straily pleaded guilty to preparing an unauthorized office check, in the amount of $1,266.80, made payable to herself in February 2017.

Straily reportedly admitted that she forged the signature on the dental office’s check and later presented that check for payment against the dental office’s bank account at a local bank.

As part of her plea, Straily further admitted that she embezzled funds from her former employer from around April 2012 through June 2017.

Straily stipulated in a plea agreement that the total restitution due to the Duncan dental office from the embezzlement scheme is $283,005.11.

In addition to pleading guilty to bank fraud, Straily pleaded guilty to signing a false tax return.

She admitted that on April 13, 2016, she signed a personal federal tax return for the 2015 calendar year that she knew was false because it reported only $49,127 in total income.

At yesterday’s plea hearing, Straily admitted that she omitted on the 2015 return more than $100,000 of embezzled income for that year from the dental office.

As part of her plea agreement, Straily agreed that she owes $54,286 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for the tax loss.

At sentencing, Straily faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud count, plus five years of supervised release, and a $1,000,000 fine.

Straily also faces up to three years in prison on the tax count, in addition to one year of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Straily will be sentenced in approximately 90 days, officials say.

Content retrieved from: http://kfor.com/2018/06/07/oklahoma-woman-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-more-than-280000-from-dental-office/

Texas Bookkeeper Accused of Stealing Over $300,000 From Dentist

The Cameron County Sheriff’s Office is charging a 35-year-old San Benito man with stealing more than $300,000 from a Los Fresnos dentist office over a three-year period.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said investigators arrested Francisco Hernandez-Limon Wednesday on Rio Hondo School District property. According to the district’s website, Hernandez-Limon worked as a bookkeeper.

The allegations, however, stem from when Hernandez-Limon worked at Los Fresnos Family Dentistry.

In 2016, Lucio said that office’s owner contacted him to file a report about $48,000 that was missing from the books. Investigators would later discover a total of $308,000 that was missing and accuse Hernandez-Limon of stealing it through various methods.

Lucio said Hernandez-Limon took cash from Los Fresnos Family Dentistry, forged checks, used the company credit card to charge personal items and gave himself unauthorized bonuses.

Hernandez-Limon is scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Thursday on a charge of misapplication of fiduciary property. Lucio said the suspect, if convicted, could be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison, but not less than five years and also face a $10,000 fine.

Content retrieved from: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/san-benito-man-accused-of-stealing-k-from-los-fresnos/article_b6820b52-336a-11e8-b557-e77dfd11f2c8.html

NC Woman stole $400,000 from dentist, spent it on Disney World and other vacations. Sentenced to five years.

A woman who admitted stealing $409,000 from a Huntersville dental office she managed has been sentenced to a minimum of nearly five years in prison.

Angela Nicole Brown, 45, of Charlotte spent part of the money she stole from the practice of Dr. John Wells on vacations, including to Disney World, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office said last week.

Brown was sentenced after pleading guilty in Mecklenburg County Superior Court to embezzlement greater than $100,000.

In 2015, Wells found that Brown had written unauthorized checks to herself and taken cash from the office’s business account from February 2010 to February 2015, according to the district attorney’s office.

Wells also discovered that Brown had used the practice’s credit card to pay for her utility bills, gas fill-ups, store purchases and vacations, prosecutors said. Wells did not return calls seeking comment last week. Wells declined to comment about the case when reached by the Observer.

Brown also was ordered to pay the money back.

Content retrieved from: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article190866184.html

Tennessee bookkeeper accused of embezzling $250k from dental practice

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said authorities arrested a Tennessee woman in Colorado for stealing from a dental practice.

According to the TBI, 43-year-old Aleea Nash was arrested Monday in Colorado.

Agents said she is accused of stealing more than $250,000 while working as a receptionist and bookkeeper for a Lewisburg dental practice. The TBI said she took the money from Feb. 2014-Jan. 2017.

Content retrieved from: http://fox17.com/news/local/lewisburg-bookkeeper-accused-of-stealing-250k-from-dental-practice

Judge calls Michigan woman’s 2nd embezzling conviction ‘shocking’ and ‘astounding’

Editor’s note — as you may know, we normally confine ourselves to investigating dental office embezzlement.  However, we do provide reporting on significant embezzlements in medical offices because the methodologies employed have considerable commonality.

GRAND RAPIDS — A Grand Rapids woman who still owes restitution for a 2004 embezzlement conviction is heading to prison for embezzling more than $181,000 from a prominent cosmetic surgery office – an offense a judge called “shocking’’ and “astounding.’’

Two embezzlement convictions in the span of 13 years necessitates that 48-year-old Rebecca Sue Barrera spend time locked up, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald A. Johnston said Tuesday, May 2. Losses from both crimes top $311,000.

“This embezzlement situation is shocking,’’ Johnston said. “It would be shocking if you had one conviction for this sort of thing, but to have a conviction for a substantial embezzlement and then go out and commit another substantial embezzlement is astounding.’’

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/05/03/two-embezzling-convictions/101250350/

IL woman makes it to Federal court for large embezzlement from medical office

Editor’s note — as you may know, we normally confine ourselves to investigating dental office embezzlement.  However, we do provide reporting on significant embezzlements in medical offices because the methodologies employed have considerable commonality.


LOOMNGTON — A Clinton woman accused of stealing more than $400,000 from the medical practice that employed her is in negotiations with federal prosecutors to resolve charges that carry a possible 20-year prison term.

In a court filing delaying her March 7 jury trial in U.S. District Court in Springfield, attorneys for the government and Veronica Luster disclosed that the two sides “have met on several occasions in an effort to resolve the factual disputes regarding the amounts in issue” and recently obtained information.

The lawyers “have discussed a resolution of this matter, but have not finalized a critical term of any agreement,” according to filings by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan David Freres and defense lawyer L. Lee Smith.

A March 17 hearing is set to discuss a change in Luster’s not guilty plea she entered shortly after her arrest on mail and wire fraud charges in 2015 related to the alleged embezzlement of more than $400,000 from Clinton Internal Medicine and Dr. Farrukh Kureishy.

Kureishy, who is now employed at the Family Medicine Clinic at Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2014 against his former office manager. The doctor accuses Luster of taking more than $600,000 from the medical practice for personal items, including books, clothing, home improvement items and electronics.

The pending lawsuit seeks repayment of the office funds and Luster’s salary.

Luster was employed at the medical practice from 2005 until her termination in 2014 after the alleged embezzlement was discovered.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

 

CT dentist gets prison term for embezzling from practice

Dentist Gets Prison Term

February 05, 2004

The co-owner and vice president of a West Hartford dental practice was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay more than $340,000 he fraudulently diverted from the practice.

Dentist Jay L. Mestel, 43, of Weatogue, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud in September, told U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton that he has already made restitution to West Hartford Family Dentistry, federal officials said.

Arterton ordered Mestel to surrender to the U.S. Marshal on June 11. She also sentenced him to two years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine and ordered him to file amended income tax returns.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

 

Content retrieved from: http://articles.courant.com/2004-02-05/news/0402050098_1_dentist-gets-prison-term-ordered-sentenced

 

Pullman WA woman sentenced for embezzling $437,000

A former office manager for a Pullman dentist has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for embezzling $437,000 from her employer over 12 years.

Debora Jo Ailor, 47, of Pullman was sentenced this week by U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud.

Ailor had worked as the office manager for Dr. Delbert Rohn, a Pullman dentist, since the 1980s.

Ailor prepared about 50 checks each month to be drawn on Rohn’s checking account to pay operating expenses and payroll for his practice and to pay his personal expenses, according to a plea agreement.

On essentially a monthly basis, from February 1992 through July 2004, Ailor prepared an additional check that she used to pay bills for a credit card her family used to charge personal expenses – clothes, restaurant meals, entertainment and regional travel, U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt said in a news release.

Her employer was unaware that one of the checks his office manager presented to him in the monthly stack represented payment for her family’s personal expenses, McDevitt said. She concealed the embezzlement from Rohn and an accountant who prepared his taxes by allocating the funds to expense accounts such as office supplies, dental supplies and the owner’s salary, McDevitt said.

The judge also ordered Ailor to serve three years of supervised release when she gets out of prison and make restitution to Rohn in the amount of $445,113.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

 

Content retrieved from: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2008/jul/05/in-brief-coe-seeks-new-commitment-trial-venue/

Ok — this is a bit ugly — Ex-Hospital COO Convicted In Dental Program Bribery Scheme

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Update July 31, 2018:

AKRON, Ohio — A former MetroHealth System executive and three dentists were found guilty of federal charges Friday for participating in a series of schemes that defrauded the Cuyahoga County hospital.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on dozens of charges against Edward Hills and former MetroHealth dentists Sari Alqsous, Yazan Al-Madani and Tariq Sayegh, including racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, bribery, receipt of kickbacks and obstruction of justice. Hills was also convicted of tax charges.

Jurors found Alqsous not guilty of certain bribery and mail fraud charges, but he was convicted of bribery conspiracy charges. Al-Madani was also found not guilty of four mail fraud charges.

The verdict came following a weeks-long corruption trial in the federal courthouse in Akron in which jurors were inundated with records and witnesses detailing kickbacks and schemes that prosecutors said enriched all the defendants, often while using MetroHealth resources.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said all four received kickbacks, while the dentists also paid Hills in exchange for bonuses and steering business in their directions.

Some evidence had a salacious spin, as prosecutors detailed kickbacks the dentists, who all emigrated from Jordan, gave to Hills for him and his girlfriends.

Content retrieved from: https://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2018/07/jury_convicts_former_metroheal.html


Original story:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The schemes described in a federal indictment against former MetroHealth executive Edward Hills and three former hospital dentists undertook were complex, intertwined and lasted for years.

They also involved about $250,000, much of which was taxpayer money. Meanwhile, Hills was being paid increasingly larger six-figure salaries for his work at the hospital system.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office laid out its accusations in a 93-page indictment unsealed Tuesday, following the arrest of Hills and dentists Sari Alqsous, Yazan Al-Madani and Tariq Sayegh. The charges say the men steered MetroHealth clients and resources toward their private businesses and forced prospective residents to pay them bribes in exchange for preferential treatment.

All four entered not-guilty pleas at their arraignments.

The case is the culmination of an investigation that lasted more than two years and was headed by the FBI and IRS. It involves a series of cooperating witnesses. Federal prosecutors have not said whether others will face charges.

Former MetroHealth System executive Edward Hills and three dentists were arrested Tuesday morning following a grand jury’s indictment in a racketeering and corruption case involving the hospital’s Department of Oral Health and Dentistry.

Below you will find the breakdowns of the schemes in which Hills, Alqsous, Al-Madani and Sayegh are accused. All of the information is either based on the indictment or was verified through interviews and records.

Benefits to Hills and the dentists

Beginning in 2009, Alqsous, Al-Makani and others gave Hills bribes. They referred to the illegal payments as “thing,” “something,” “fundraisers” or “presents” and would try to tie them to Hills’ birthday or the holiday season, the indictment says.

Talk of bribes would often come while Hills, Alqsous and Al-Makani texted each other about making plans to go to upscale restaurants or, on at least one occasion, a strip club in Bedford, the indictment says.

In a series of messages, the indictment shows that Alqsous would text Hills and tell him that “got a little something for u” or “I told the guys about the fundraising …” The indictment says that after certain text exchanges, money would be deposited into Hills’ bank account.

In one text message, Alqsous tells Al-Madani and another dentist that “With 22nd of October approaching we ll be celebrating Dr hills bday earlier this year…1000 dollars each that is the gift from the 3 sons their father,” the indictment says.

Hills also accepted use of an apartment at Landmark Perry Payne in Cleveland’s Warehouse District. Alqsous rented the apartment and allowed Hills to use it with a woman with whom he had a relationship. Alqsous even purchased furniture after Hills made a request, according to the indictment.

He stated in a 2013 text to Hills that “I bought your bedroom yesterday … there is mirrors everywhere … you will like it,” the indictment says.

He also accepted airplane tickets for he and the woman, as well as prescriptions from Alqsous, according to the indictment.

When Hills took over as interim CEO of the hospital, he told Alqsous, Al-Madani and others that he wanted a Louis Vuitton briefcase because his predecessor had a similar briefcase. The dentists bought him one at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beachwood for $3,879, according to the indictment.

Subordinates also bought him a $3,000 55-inch LED television from Best Buy for Christmas in December 2013, court documents say. They also purchased an Apple laptop for Hills’ female friend.

In exchange for all of this, Alqsous, Al-Madani and others received more than $92,000 in extra bonuses from MetroHealth. Hills also let Alqsous and Al-Madani work part-time hours but remain as full-time hospital employees, the indictment says.

Free labor from dental residents

In 2009, an unnamed person, labeled in the indictment as a cooperating witness, reached out to Hills to see if the executive could help provide dentists for Noble Dental Clinic in East Cleveland, which he owned at the time and later turned over to Alqsous and Al-Madani, prosecutors say.

Hills and the person agreed that several MetroHealth dental residents, including Alqsous and Al-Madani, would practice at the clinic on a part-time basis. He told the dentist to pay him and his company Oral Health Enrichment the wages owed to Alqsous and Al-Madani instead of paying them directly, according to the indictment.

Alqsous and Al-Madani were not licensed to practice at a private firm, and were using MetroHealth’s malpractice insurance. Hills also sent later dentists to work at Noble and Buckeye Family Dental, another office operated by Alqsous and Al-Madani, the indictment shows.

Bribes from prospective dental residents

Alqsous, Sayegh and Al-Madani served as attending dentists at MetroHealth between 2008 and 2014. With that title came influence on who was admitted into the hospital system’s resident program, according to the indictment.

The three served on panels interviewing potential residents and selected candidates who were from Jordan or trained at a Jordanian dental school in order to obtain bribes. Alqsous and Sayegh told potential residents that they would have to pay a “donation” to MetroHealth in order to receive favorable consideration. They then told the candidates to pay them directly, according to the indictment.

The trio sometimes touted their access to Hills to show they had power. Alqsous and Sayegh sometimes said some of the money would go to Hills. If a candidate did not give them bribes, and they were still hired, Alqsous tried to make them work extra hours, weekends without pay or tried to fire them altogether, according to the indictment.

The bribes totaled at least $75,000, prosecutors said.

Oral Health Enrichment

In 2009, as Hills was at the end of his tenure on the Ohio State Dental Board, he prepared to open Oral Health Enrichment, a Woodmere company that specialized in remedial training for dentists found to have committed wrongdoing. He used his connections in Ohio, Kentucky and Texas to find clients and operated it using MetroHealth resources, the indictment states.

He offered to pay “referral fees” for dental board employees who sent clients to his company, according to the indictment.

On January 27, 2009, he and a woman referred to as “Public Employee 1” added Oral Health Enrichment to the list of providers for remedial training in Ohio. “Public Employee 1” is believed to be Lili Reitz, the former executive director of the dental board. She has not been criminally charged.

Dental care to an attorney          

In July 2009, the Deer Island of Walden Condominium Association in Aurora, where Hills lived, filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Edward Hills and his wife, Carla Hills, for failing to pay association fees. Hills hired an attorney whom he had also seen as a patient.

The indictment does not name the attorney, but Portage County court records show that Anthony Jordan, a former Cleveland city prosecutor and candidate for Cleveland Municipal Court judge in 2015, represented Hills in the lawsuit.

Before and after the lawsuit was filed, Hills and other ordered crowns, veneers and implants for the attorney. A witness, labeled in the indictment as a cooperating witness, created a treatment plan for the attorney. Hills told the dentist to claim that the treatment for the attorney was “educational” so the attorney would not have to pay for it, court records say.

The attorney received surgical dental implants on Sept. 21, 2009. This treatment continued through April 2011, as he received implants, crowns and other services from the unnamed dentist, as well as Alqsous and other dentists, the indictment says.

MetroHealth did not get paid for the dental work, and Hills told the attorney to pay him directly, according to court records. The hospital system lost $24,000 as a result.

Jordan did not return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Kickbacks for Medicaid patients

Hills, Al-Madani, Alqsous and others devised a scheme to solicit kickbacks for referring Medicaid recipients to Alqsous and Al-Madani’s private dental offices, prosecutors said.

Specifically, Alqsous and Al-Madani paid Hills more than $1,000 on several occasions to obtain the patients. On bank accounts they referred to the money as “consultation fees” or “profession fees,” the indictment says.

According to prosecutors, Hills received more than $17,600 in kickbacks.

When the MetroHealth and the FBI began investigating, the defendants referred to the payments as “repayments on loans,” even though no known loans existed, according to the indictment.

Trying to obstruct justice

In May 2014, Hills became aware of the federal criminal investigation. He, Alqsous, Al-Madani and others then worked to hide information from the FBI, IRS and the grand jury, prosecutors said. The trio told people to not cooperate with law enforcement, the indictment says.

Al-Madani told one dentist that they should not discuss the bribery conduct with the FBI or else they could be deported, court records say. Hills told Alqsous, Al-Madani and another dentist to tell the FBI that the television and other items he received were gifts. He said to say he initially refused to accept the TV but that they insisted because of their “Middle Eastern culture,” according to the indictment.

Hills, in a conversation with Alqsous, Al-Madani and a dentist who cooperated with prosecutors, said that “the s— we got ourselves in this year is because motherf—— running they mouth snitching …”, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, he told them to stick together.

This story has been updated to clarify what prosecutors say is the extent of Sayegh’s involvement.

Content retrieved from: http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2016/10/the_many_schemes_of_four_denti.html

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Australian woman admits embezzling $320,000 from dentist

A Balgownie woman has confessed to stealing almost $320,000 from the dental surgery where she worked for nearly a decade.

Daniette Paulissen, 34, was ordered to front court in May 2016 after she was charged with stealing property as a clerk stemming from her time working for the owners of Corrimal dental surgery Contemporary Smiles, owned by dentists Barry Phelan and Kurt Dean.

Court documents reveal Paulissen was employed at the surgery when Dr Phelan and Dr Dean purchased the business in 2009.

They retained Paulissen’s services, employing her in a financial management role that saw her responsible for the surgery’s weekly banking, liaising with accountants, paying staff their weekly wages and splitting surgery profits between the two owners.

As part of her job, Paulissen had signature and transfers rights for the company’s bank accounts, which she operated online.

In January last year, Dr Phelan’s accountant identified a number of irregular transactions.

Following an investigation, it was revealed Paulissen had used her own passwords and log-in details to transfer a total of $319,121 from the company bank account into her own personal Illawarra Credit Union accounts between 2011 and 2016.

The matter was reported to police, who spoke with Paulissen in March last year at Wollongong Police Station. She declined a formal interview.

Investigating officers served court attendance notices on her lawyer the following month.

Paulissen originally pleaded not guilty to the charge, however, changed her plea in court recently.

The magistrate ordered a full options report ahead of her sentencing in May.

It is understood Dr Phelan and Dr Dean are seeking compensation for the outstanding amount.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com

Content retrieved from: http://www.edenmagnet.com.au/story/4524417/employee-admits-stealing-320k-from-dentist/?cs=2452