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


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

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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.

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

Virginia embezzler goes undetected for 10 years; steals $350k

rosalind deborah wright

A once-trusted employee who stole more than $350,000 from her employer was ordered yesterday to serve 18 months in prison.

Rosalind Deborah Wright, 50, stole the money from dentist Alexander Balian’s office over a 10-year period starting in 1998, court records state.

She pleaded guilty in June to six counts of embezzlement. Five other charges were dropped.

Yesterday, Judge David Beck sentenced Wright to a total of 60 years in prison with all but 18 months suspended. Wright had no previous criminal record.

According to court records, Balian hired Wright as his office manager in 1998. She soon began taking checks from insurance companies and signing them over to herself with Balian’s signature stamp. She then put the money in her private account.

Court records say Wright stole thousands of dollars every year and pocketed nearly $48,000 in 2002.

Terese Hill, who worked in the office with Wright for about five years, was the first to notice a discrepancy and later turned over evidence of Wright’s embezzling.

Wright quickly admitted to stealing when confronted by a Spotsylvania detective.

Also yesterday, a plan for Wright to repay $350,000 was finalized.

She paid $175,000 to Balian yesterday, according to the agreement. That money came from the sale of a riverfront summer home Wright and her husband owned.

She is also scheduled to pay another $25,000 in cash on Dec. 10.

The rest of the debt will be paid through the transfer of two timeshares to Balian and from monthly $500 payments Wright must make or risk losing her primary residence.

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.fredericksburg.com/local/embezzler-sentenced-to-prison/article_0bd86ff2-26a9-594c-9d4b-8f43e8c52c6c.html

Florida dentist has $399k removed from retirement accounts

A semi-retired dentist who last month started receiving incessant telephone calls, all 30-second recordings from a sex hotline, told police this week that nearly $400,000 had been siphoned from his retirement account since the calls began.

Robert Thousand Jr., 61, a periodontist in World Golf Village, said he believes the telephone scheme and the thefts are connected.

“It’s a very sophisticated operation, actually,” Thousand said Tuesday.

On Monday, he filed a police report saying he checked his TD Ameritrade account and found that money — a total of $399,000 — started disappearing days after the phone calls started.

The withdrawals were of $18,000 on Nov. 23, $82,000 on Nov. 25, $99,000 on Nov. 30, and $100,000 on both Dec. 2 and 4.

Thousand, who recently sold his St. Augustine practice, said it seems the perpetrators infiltrated his phone lines to prevent the broker from contacting him about the transactions.

His son, Robert Thousand III, is a fellow dental specialist in the St. Augustine area who had also been on the receiving end of the harassing phone calls.

But it didn’t appear his bank accounts had been touched, the elder Thousand said.

Still, they both have put freezes on their financial accounts as a precaution.

“They just hit me,” he said. “Apparently they were targeting me, but Bobby and I have the same name (so) they were probably thinking his practice was my practice.”

Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, said detectives were still investigating the phone calls Monday when they learned about the withdrawals.

Investigators couldn’t definitively say whether the two crimes were connected.

“There’s a possibility,” Mulligan said. “But at this juncture, we simply don’t know.”

Kristin Petrick, a spokeswoman for TD Ameritrade, said she could not comment on Thousand’s situation.

“Because of our privacy policy we don’t comment on individual client circumstances,” Petrick said.

Coincidentally, President Barack Obama on Tuesday named Howard Schmidt as his cyber-security coordinator.

In May, Obama said cyber-security was one of the “most serious economic and national-security challenges we face,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Thousand had heard about the appointment, saying, “I even heard today that the president appointed (Schmidt) as the cyber crime czar now, which we needed for a long time.”

He just hopes it’s not too late for him.

He said his accountant told him that the money likely would not be recoverable and, to add insult to injury, he might have to pay income taxes and an early-withdrawal penalty on what he lost.

Not to mention, he isn’t sure where his money is going.

The money was taken out in New York City, but Thousand wondered aloud if it would end up funding terrorism.

“I don’t know where this 400,000 is going,” he said. “I could have bomb with my name on it: Thank you, Bob.”

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Con man poses as accountant, steals $375k from FL dental office

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PALM HARBOR – If the charges are true, it’s not the first time Zed Turner posed as a legitimate accountant to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from an unsuspecting client.

In 1997, he was charged with stealing more than $250,000 from an 88-year-old blind woman from Palm Harbor. He later pleaded guilty and, in exchange for his plea, received four years of probation and paid $107,000 in restitution.

Now Pinellas County sheriff’s detectives say that Turner has returned to his old ways. This time, they say, Turner, 52, of Oldsmar stole more than $375,000 from a dental office where he had been hired to handle the company’s payroll.

Deputies arrested Turner on Monday night on a grand theft charge. He was being held in the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $375,000 bail. His attorney, Robert Eckard, declined to answer questions, saying he hadn’t seen the Sheriff’s Office investigation.

According to authorities, Turner was hired Jan. 1, 2003, to handle the payroll taxes for a dental business owned by Harry A. Insko at 4050 Tampa Road in Oldsmar. Turner presented himself as a certified public accountant, but he holds no such license in Florida.

Turner was supposed to prepare the employees’ checks, deducting income and Social Security taxes, detectives said. Turner then had Insko cut him a check in the amount of the taxes, saying that he would forward the money to the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration.

Turner, though, kept the money for himself and successfully avoided detection for three years, authorities said. He used the money for his mortgage payments, airline tickets and a new GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle.

“We’re in shock,” said Jan Boromei, an office receptionist and sister-in-law of Insko. “Turner was someone we trusted. To meet him, you’d never know it in a million years. … When we all found out, we were nauseous. That’s how sick we were.”

Insko was out of town and unavailable for comment.

The truth about Turner emerged in June 2006 when the Insko family got a letter from the IRS, authorities said. They later learned from the IRS that no tax papers had been filed for 2003 through 2006.

The Inskos turned to the Sheriff’s Office, and Detective David Kavanagh in the economic crimes unit took up the investigation. Kavanagh said Tuesday he feared there might other victims who have not come forward or even realized they have been taken.

Content retrieved from: http://www.sptimes.com/2007/03/21/Northpinellas/Man_again_accused_of_.shtml


Gender: MALE
Birth date: 4/11/1954
Eye Color: GREEN
Height: 6′ 2″ (1.88 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
DC Number: R09142
Release Date: 12/28/2023
Current Facility: GULF C.I.
Initial Receipt Date: 4/30/2009
Current Custody: MEDIUM
Current Release Date: 12/28/2023
Names / Aliases:
  • ZED
  • ZEKE
Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Prison Sentence Length
01/01/2003 GRAND THEFT O/$100,000 1ST. DEG 04/24/2009 PINELLAS 0705892 16Y 0M 0D
01/03/2002 GRAND THEFT O/$100,000 1ST. DEG 04/24/2009 PINELLAS 0716934 16Y 0M 0D
08/16/2005 GRAND THEFT O/$100K 04/24/2009 PINELLAS 0821174 16Y 0M 0D
Current Community Supervision History:
Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Community Supervision Length
01/01/2003 GRAND THEFT O/$100,000 1ST. DEG 04/24/2009 PINELLAS 0705892 14Y 0M 0D
01/03/2002 GRAND THEFT O/$100,000 1ST. DEG 04/24/2009 PINELLAS 0716934 14Y 0M 0D
08/16/2005 GRAND THEFT O/$100K 04/24/2009 PINELLAS 0821174 14Y 0M 0D
Detainer Date Agency Type Date Canceled
04/27/2009 06C INTAKE 0705892 NTFY/P&P
Incarceration History:
Date In-Custody Date Out-of-Custody
04/30/2009 Currently Incarcerated

Elizabeth Ann Eisert convicted of embezzling $450k from Oregon dentist; sentenced to 60 months

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Name: Eisert, Elizabeth Ann
Age: 66
DOB: 1/1947
Gender: Female
Race: White
Height: 5′ 3″ (1.60 m)
Weight: 235 lb (107 kg)
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue
SID: 12401446
Location: Washington County Community Corrections
Status: PostPrison/Parole Board
Earliest Release Date: 1/09/2015
Institution Admission Date: 1/10/2013
Names / Aliases:
Last Name First Middle Type
Docket Number County Crime Sentence Type Begin Date Termination Date
C972885CR/01 WASH THEFT I Probation Sentence 03/09/1998 09/14/1999
C082027CR/01 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 04/14/2010
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/02 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 07/21/2011
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/03 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 10/28/2012
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/04 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 01/10/2013
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/04 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 01/31/2010
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/05 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 04/14/2010
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/06 WASH THEFT I AGGRAVATED Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 04/14/2010
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013
C082027CR/07 WASH AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT Inmate Sentence 01/27/2009 04/14/2010
Post Prison Supervision Sent 01/10/2013

Plains MT woman pleads guilty to stealing more than $250,000, sentenced to 5 years

A Plains woman who admitted to embezzling more than a quarter-million dollars from a local dental clinic was sentenced Friday to 30 years with 25 suspended in the Montana Department of Corrections.

Dorothea P. Knudson, 45, of Plains, pleaded guilty to theft by embezzlement, deceptive practices and theft by insurance fraud in Ravalli County District Court in May.

She was sentenced to 10 years with five suspended for embezzlement, 10 years suspend for deceptive practices and 10 years suspended for insurance fraud, to run consecutively.

Ravalli County District Court Judge Jeffrey Langton recommended that the time Knudson is incarcerated be spent in a pre-release center so she could continue paying restitution.

After sentencing, Deputy County Attorney William Fulbright was disappointed at what he called “a slap on the wrist.”

“I’m disappointed that a bookkeeper can steal $250,000, and not set foot in prison,” he said in a prepared statement.

Fulbright argued for a Montana State Prison commitment for 10 years for the first charge, five years suspended for the second and 10 years with five suspended for the third count.

“This sentence is clearly driven by the (Montana State Prison) Sentence Review Board’s prior intervention in the sentencing of the Teller Wildlife Refuge and Specialty Woodworks embezzlers,” Fulbright said. It is unfortunate that this virtually unknown institution, not subject to review, has taken away discretion our district court should feel to sentence appropriately. The Sentence Review Board has again sent the message that white-collar crime pays in Montana.”

In two recent Ravalli County embezzlement cases, the board knocked down hefty prison sentences in favor of a few years of probation for convicted felons.

The defendant argued for 20 years in the Montana Department of Corrections with 18 years suspended, including participation in the adult probation intensive supervision program.

From March 1994 to July 2003 Knudson stole $228,000 from her employers’ checking account by thieving cash paid by patients and through unauthorized use of business credit cards. Knudson worked as an office manager for East Side Dental Clinic in Florence.

Knudson tricked the dental clinic’s owners into writing her 185 checks worth more than $163,500. Knudson also filed a number of fraudulent insurance claims worth $35,836.

Langton ordered Knudson to pay $228,861 in restitution to the owners of the dental practice. He also ordered her to pay the remaining $1,140 to the Delta Dental Insurance Company.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright recommended 25 years with 10 years suspended, saying Knudson exploited a trusting friendship with the Laceys, who own the business.

While this was going on the Laceys were struggling, yet she kept doing it,” he said.

Sandy Lacey testified Knudson was a supportive friend to her when her mother passed away, offering a shoulder to cry on. Yet that same week she took thousands of dollars from the business.

“I don’t want her to pay us back by doing this to someone else,” Lacey said. She added that while they were struggling to makes ends meet living in a 1,000-square-foot apartment, Knudson and her family were living a fancy lifestyle in a nice big house.

Lacey said Knudson was taking $2,500 to $5,500 a month from the practice.

It took hundreds of hours over the last three years for the Laceys to go through their records from the dental clinic to figure out what items were fraudulent and what was valid.

Knudson was initially charged with two counts of theft by embezzlement, theft by deception and forgery, all felonies, but a May 24 plea agreement amended the charges.

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Content retrieved from: http://ravallirepublic.com/news/article_c9353165-03b5-5e7c-a215-fb6a6592a3bc.html

South Carolina Collusive fraud: Dental employee and SEVEN other conspirators plead guilty to stealing 368K

A Sumter woman and a Santee woman are among the eight who recently plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud that bilked Blue Cross Blue Shield out of $368,000.

Lorraine Porcher, 46, of Sumter, and Kimberly Donaldson Broughton, 33, of Santee, reportedly worked with Malentha Robinson-Taylor, 45, of Cordova, to file false insurance claims out of an Orangeburg-based dentist office.

“The dentist realized it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston David Holliday Jr. “Malentha was out, and he noticed he was getting explanation of benefits for patients he didn’t remember seeing.”

The way the scheme worked is that Robinson-Taylor identified some friends with state insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield, he said. Because the doctor she worked for is not a network provider for those policies, the individual is expected to pay out of pocket and then receive a check to apply toward that expense.

“But they never had dental services,” Holliday said. “Malentha made it up. So say she said (you) had wisdom teeth removed. You get a $2,000 check in the mail, and you say ‘thank you. Here’s your cut.’”

The claims submitted totaled about $800,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Friday news release.

This is not an unusual scheme, Holliday said.

“Doctors’ offices in particular are susceptible if there are not checks and balances over access to billing,” he said.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit mail fraud is imprisonment for 20 years and/or a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. of Columbia accepted the guilty pleas and will impose sentences after he has reviewed the pre-sentence reports prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

“It’s a formula that takes into account factors such as the amount lost and criminal history,” Holliday said. “It’s not as though the judge is sitting there deciding between zero and 20 years. It’s much more academic.”

The others involved in this case are: R.L. Robinson-Taylor, 46, of Cordova; Robert Green, 55, of Orangeburg; Pamela Richardson, 41, of Florence; Latisha Brown, 36, of Lake City; and Cheryl Frazier, 42, of Orangeburg.

Content retrieved from: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article13827674.html#!

Eight Plead Guilty in Fraud Scheme Involving Blue Cross Blue Shield

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 25, 2013
  • District of South Carolina(803) 929-3000

COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Malentha Robinson-Taylor, age 45, of Cordova, South Carolina; R. L. Robinson-Taylor, age 46, also of Cordova; Robert Green, age 55, of Orangeburg; Kimberly Donaldson Broughton, age 33, of Santee; Pamela Richardson, age 41, of Florence; Latisha Brown, age 36, of Lake City; Cheryl Frazier, age 42, of Orangeburg; and Lorraine Porcher, age 46, of Sumter, each have entered a guilty plea in federal court in Columbia to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. of Columbia accepted the guilty pleas and will impose their sentences after he has reviewed the presentence reports, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Malentha Robinson-Taylor worked for an Orangeburg-based dentist. She and her husband, R. L. Robinson-Taylor, recruited individuals who supplied their Blue Cross Blue Shield policy numbers to them. Ms. Robinson-Taylor then submitted claims as though these individuals had been seen by her dentist employer, even though they had not. When checks were sent directly to the beneficiaries for services that had not been performed, they split the proceeds with the Robinson-Taylors. The other six individuals who pled guilty were all beneficiaries who received checks as part of the fraud scheme. The total claims submitted totaled approximately $800,000. The amount paid was around $368,000.

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit mail fraud is imprisonment for 20 years and/or a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Winston David Holliday, Jr. of Columbia is prosecuting the case.

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Content retrieved from: https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/columbia/press-releases/2013/eight-plead-guilty-in-fraud-scheme-involving-blue-cross-blue-shield

Dentists behaving badly: California Dentist and spouse steal patient credit card information — rack up $260k in charges

An Encinitas dentist and his wife who admitted using credit card information from patients to buy luxury clothing and merchandise were each sentenced today to a year in jail and placed on five years probation.

Dr. Edward Bodek, 60, and wife Mary, 56, pleaded guilty earlier this year to financial elder abuse and identity theft. The defendants were sentenced by Vista Superior Court Judge David Berry. According to court documents, patients began reporting last year that they were seeing unauthorized charges — mostly large charges ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 at a time — from the dental practice on their credit card statements. When patients called the dental office, they were told that the charges were errors that would be corrected, authorities said. A company that processes credit card charges for the dental office reported that there had been more than $260,000 in disputed charges in the defendants’ account since the beginning of 2012, according to the court documents.

Investigators learned that the Bodeks rented 30 storage units containing clothing, handbags and fur coats, most of which still had the sales tags on it and had never been worn.

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

Source — http://patch.com/california/encinitas/sentencings-for-encinitas-dentist-and-leucadia-pizzeria-bookkeeper

Washington woman charged with embezzling more than $300k

patricia hart

The former bookkeeper of Oleson General Dentistry found herself in court Jan. 25 facing charges of aggravated theft for allegedly stealing upwards of $300,000 from the business over the course of eight years.

Patricia A. Hart, 67, could face up to 10 years in prison plus fines, restitution and assessments if she is found guilty of the crime.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Hart not only worked for Hoodsport dentist Brian Oleson, but also was considered a close family friend for more than 33 years.

The affidavit alleges that Hart used her position of trust to write checks to herself over the course of almost a decade and then deposit the checks into her personal accounts at Columbia State Bank and School Employees Credit Union in Hoodsport.

“This was committed by a person who was in a position of trust and who abused their trust,” Mason County Prosecutor Michael Dorcy said in an interview with the Journal.

Oleson told police investigators that he became suspicious about the books last year after an independent broker who sells dentistry businesses told him to get an audit.

After a private investigation, Oleson confronted Hart over the missing funds and she admitted to the embezzlement.

According to the affidavit, Hart told Oleson that the money went to “help with college costs for the (her) son, weddings and things for the older son.”

Hart became more emboldened and brash as the embezzlement drug on throughout the years.

According to the document, Hart listed the checks as bill payments with her name listed as the beneficiary. She then would list the name of companies related to dentistry to cover her tracks.

In 2007, there were 14 transactions, totaling $12,163.07. Each year, other than 2008, the number of transactions and the corresponding amount of money increased. In 2014, Hart made 72 transactions, totaling $67,970.30, according to the affidavit.

Oleson told investigators that his business had been sinking for years and he did not know why and that he has not collected a paycheck in two years to keep the practice in business. He also was forced to use his savings and sell his family farm to personally stay afloat.

During the time Oleson was losing money, Hart used the stolen funds to pay for her youngest son’s college education.

In 2013, bank records show Hart transferring $15,010 to her son’s bank account. Over the next two years, she would transfer another $34,637.99 into his account.

The son’s involvement in the case is unclear.

As of Tuesday, he was not charged with any crimes in Mason County Superior Court.

As well as being Oleson’s bookkeeper, Hart previously served as a Mason County Fire District Fire District 1 commissioner.

The embezzlement is not first that totaled in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Dorcy said, and is not as rare as you would think.

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://smalltownnews.com/article.php?catname=Crime&pub=Shelton-Mason%20County%20Journal&pid=2&aid=317567