Two Chicago women indicted on identity theft charges after dentist visit

Two Chicago women were indicted on charges of identity theft by a Lake County grand jury Nov. 1 in Waukegan, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office and the Deerfield Police Department.

The charges against Kaya Washington, 28, and Beverly Henry, 40, both of Chicago, came after an investigation by Deerfield police that included a subpoena of Facebook records to determine the identity of one of the women, according to Deerfield Police detective Brad Tokarz.

Both Washington and Henry are charged with two counts of identity theft, one of unlawful possession of a credit card, and another of fraudulent use of a credit card, according to Cynthia Vargas, communications manager for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office.

Washington posted $10,000 bond, and police are still looking for Henry, according Tokarz.

Tokarz said a dentist in Chicago said the two women came in on March 9 for dental work. He said Henry showed a driver’s license with her own picture, though the information was that of the victim. He said they paid for the work with a credit card in the victim’s name.

“When you sit in the dental chair at that office they take your picture,” Tokarz said. “I had two clear pictures of both individuals.”

Washington is scheduled to appear in Lake County Criminal Court Nov. 15 in Waukegan, according to the Lake County Court Clerk’s records.

Washington declined to comment, and Henry could not be reached for comment.

Content retrieved from:

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


Big Mistake — Chicago dentist reassigns embezzler instead of firing her — creates big issues when she claims unemployment

Being a busy and prominent dentist specializing in children`s trembling mouths, Marvin Berman needed an efficient office manager.

He has seven chairs and nine employees.

And for five years, he was delighted with Debra`s performance as office manager. She was cheerful, punctual and diligent.

Then a problem arose, as can happen in the happiest of offices.

Debra went on vacation. And while she was gone, Berman noticed something strange about the bookkeeping. Some of the numbers didn`t add up.

So he brought in an accountant. And what didn’t add up was about $135,000 in cash payments from patients over five years.

Debra, it turned out, had been skimming and juggling the books to cover it up.

When she returned from vacation, the cops came by the clinic in the Sauganash neighborhood and told her she was under arrest for embezzlement.

By then, Berman had talked to his attorney. And the attorney told him not to fire Debra. Nowadays, you can`t be too careful about firing people, even suspected embezzlers. You might have a federal or state agency on your back. Maybe even the United Nations.

So Berman assigned Debra to another job, where she wouldn’t be near the cash or the kids.

But she didn`t come back to work, which is understandable. There might have been tensions during the coffee break.

A couple of weeks after Debra was nabbed, Berman received a form from the state informing him that Debra had applied for unemployment compensation.

Berman knew that because he was Debra’s last employer, if he didn’t provide a good reason for her being unemployed, he would be stuck with part of the tab.

He filed a protest, saying: “This former employee should not be getting any money whatsoever. She is presently being investigated by the state`s attorney`s office for embezzlement of over $130,000. She has made a confession! I am not paying anything!”

So the paper game began. It was one form or one letter or one form letter after another.

Some of them are real bureaucratic prizes. For example:

“If, with respect to the above individual, you receive a Form BIS-31, Notice to Last Employing Unit, a Form BIS-305, Notice to Chargeable Employer or Other Interested Party, in which the base period ending date differs from the base period ending date indicated above, submit another BIS-22, Notice of Possible Ineligibility, in accordance with 56 Illinois Administrative Code, Chapter IV, Section 2720.130.”

Try figuring that one out after you spend a long day having your fingers chomped by wailing 4-year-olds.

A week or so passed, and Berman received a form letter telling him that his protest had been denied.

“Since the reason for which the claimant was discharged did not constitute a deliberate or willful disregard of the employer’s interest, the claimant was discharged not for misconduct connected with the work.

“Therefore, this determination finds the claimant eligible for benefits.”

To which Berman said: “Huh?” If pocketing $135,000 wasn’t “misconduct connected with the work,” what would she have to do-pluck out Berman`s eyes? So he protested again, telling them that a long police report stated that Debra had confessed but wanted to cut a deal with Berman. Maybe give some of the money back.

Berman refused to deal.

The state sent him another letter. Yes, the young lady had been arrested, had been indicted, and was awaiting trial on a felony rap.

But that was not sufficient reason to deny her unemployment benefits.

As one of the letters from a bureaucrat said: “The claimant has not admitted an act of theft connected with the work to a representative of the Director (of the unemployment department). An admission signed by the claimant has not been submitted. The claimant has not been convicted in a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Therefore, the claimant`s benefit rights based upon wages earned prior to the discharge may not be denied.”

See? Debra was no fool. She didn’t walk in to the state office and say:

“Hi, I’d like some comp, but I want to sign a paper admitting that I filched 135 big ones from my last boss.”

So the paper game went on. Berman protested, some other bureaucrat gave him a protest number, his protest was reviewed and denied. And another protest was reviewed and denied.

Meanwhile, Debra’s felony case dragged its way through the crowded court system. A few months ago, a judge found her guilty. She received probation and is supposed to make restitution, but Berman isn’t holding his breath until he sees that $135,000 again.

And recently Berman received still another letter from the bureaucrats.

This one informed him that his unemployment insurance rates were more than quadrupling-to $3,654 a year from $756.

That’s because the premiums go up when there are more claims. So his went up because Debra had filed a claim and collected.

Laughing rather giddily, Berman said: “Why should I pay for it? What did I do? I’m the victim.

“She steals $135,000 from me. I spend $1,000 on a handwriting expert just to be sure it’s her. I leave work many times to attend hearings at the unemployment office and in court, and that costs me money. I have to pay a lawyer and an accountant.

“And now, to add insult to injury, they push my rates up several thousand dollars. What’s going on here?”

Hey, I can’t stand a whiner. Consider yourself lucky, doc. Debra hasn’t sued you, has she?

At least not yet.

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

Content retrieved from:

Unemployment fraud, dental office embezzlement convictions for Illinois woman

 CHICAGO — A Cook County grand jury indicted a Northwest Side woman Tuesday on charges that she illegally accepted $6,760 in state unemployment benefits while she was working.

Debra Valentino of 5707 W. Goodman St. was charged with accepting unemployment checks from the state between November and May when she was working at an Arlington Heights nursing agency, Atty. Gen. Roland Burris`office alleged.

Valentino had applied for unemployment benefits after she was charged with embezzling money from a dentist`soffice where she used to work. She since has been convicted on the embezzlement charge.

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

Content retrieved from:

Full Name: Debra Valentino
Record Date:
Location: Chicago
Hide Details
Full Name: Debra A Valentino
Record Date:
Location: Chicago
Hide Details
Full Name: Debra A Valentino
Record Date:
Location: Chicago
Hide Details

Embezzled dentist obtains settlement from bank that cashed checks

Harris Bank and the owners of a Naperville dental practice have settled a DuPage County Circuit Court lawsuit stemming from the theft of more than $85,000 by a former clinic employee. Dental practice owners Keith and Linda Brown and bank officials late Tuesday agreed to settle the Browns’ lawsuit, which sought nearly $50,000. The agreement came toward the end of the second day of a chancery court bench trial before Judge John T. Elsner.

“There is a court order that will essentially require the parties not to discuss any details of the settlement,” said Ben Alba, one of the Browns’ attorneys.

A lawsuit dismissal order could be entered by Elsner as early as next week, he said.

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

Content retrieved from:

Sandwich IL woman pleads guilty to theft from dental office

SYCAMORE – A Sandwich woman pleaded guilty this week to stealing money from a Sandwich dental practice over a four-year period.

 Robin Fiedler, 42, was sentenced Tuesday to 2½ years of probation by DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert. As a condition of her sentence, she has to make restitution to the Walter Dental Group and cannot have contact with Dr. John Waters, according to a news release from State’s Attorney Clay Campbell.

She was arrested in June. At that time, prosecutors said Fiedler was accused of taking the money through a series of incidents beginning in November 2006 and continuing through April. During that time, Fiedler was employed by the Waters Dental Group in Sandwich, an employee at the dental office confirmed in 2011.

From November 2006 through April, Fiedler “knowingly gained unauthorized control over $11,850.90 as of the time of the filing of the charges and had neither permission nor authority to take control of the money,” according to the news release.

Fiedler pleaded guilty to theft, a Class 3 felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

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

Content retrieved from:

Illinois woman burglarizes dental office she was previously fired from


A Tinley Park woman was accused of stealing supplies and cash from an Orland Park dentist office, where she had been fired in October, according to police.

On Feb. 4, police were called about a burglary at a dentist office in the 14600 block of John Humphrey Drive, where a “large amount of dental supplies” were taken, as well as some money, according to a release from the Orland Park Police Department.

Kristy S. Maczko, 33, of the 7100 block of 166th Street in Tinley Park, was fired from the dentist office on Oct. 17, 2011, police said. She was later identified by a witness as being seen inside the office during closed hours, on the same morning as the burglary, according to the release.

The door lock had been drilled during the burglary, authorities said.

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

Illinois office manager sentenced to 15 months for embezzling $250k

CHICAGO — The former manager of a Mundelein dental office was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison for bilking insurers out of about $250,000 over 14 years by billing mostly for work never performed on patients.

“I’ve never even had a parking ticket,” Denise L. Sullivan, 43, of Wadsworth told U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber before he imposed the sentence. “This is a crisis beyond all my wildest imagination.”

To buttress the phony claims, Sullivan mailed insurers copies of X-rays of patients who had previously undergone legitimate work, according to prosecutors Scott Levine and Jacqueline Stern.

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

Content retrieved from:

Illinois Bookkeeper gets 5 years for embezzling $127,000

ELMHURST — An Elmhurst bookkeeper was sentenced Wednesday to 5 years in prison for embezzling about $127,000 from a dental office in 2004 and 2005.

Patricia Gaffney, 54, who was convicted by a jury in April of theft of more than $10,000, continued Wednesday to maintain her innocence, blaming her attorneys, the judge’s evidential rulings, the company’s dentists and their office staff. But she admitted having financialproblems.

“You treated the doctors’ accounts as your own piggy banks,” said DuPage County Judge Mark Dwyer.

Assistant State’s Atty. Ken Tatarelis said Gaffney had confessed to Elmhurst police in a 22-page statement but later recanted about depositing checks from Advanced Oral & Maxillofacial.

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

Illinois dental office employee arraigned for stealing from co-workers’ purses

DECATUR – A 34-year-old woman who is on probation for a 2012 conviction for stealing purses from cars was arraigned Tuesday on a felony charge of theft after she allegedly stole from fellow employees at a dental office.

Kelly Lee Distasio was arrested April 2, after a manager at Familia Dental, 141 E. Pershing Road, told police that she was suspected of taking cash from a purse, coat pocket and cash drawer.

The manager said thefts began occurring at the workplace during the prior two weeks, about two weeks after the woman they knew as Kelly Martin was hired as a receptionist.

According to a police statement, when two other receptionists left their work area, Kelly walked over to the filing cabinet in that area, which contained a cash box.

Video surveillance footage clearly showed “Kelly opening this drawer and reached in to the rear of this drawer,” said the statement, by Decatur patrol officer Joseph M. Sawyer. “Kelly retrieved something and placed them in her coat pocket … Kelly hurried while doing this while looking for the receptionists to return.”

The cash box was later found to be “missing $269.”

Other missing money included $130 from an employee’s purse, $10 from an employee’s coat pocket and $20 from a petty cash fund.

When Distasio was questioned, she initially said she was not near the filing cabinet. When told about the video that placed her there, she “recalled getting in the drawer to get a patient’s file.”

The manager told police Kelly was hired after she showed a North Carolina ID with “Kelly Martin” on it. A background check turned up no prior criminal record. According to police, Martin is an alias for Distasio.

In her prior case, Distasio was convicted of stealing purses from two women, 78 and 66 years old, as the victims were loading groceries in their vehicles in the Walmart parking lot on the city’s north side. The incidents occurred in late March 2012. Distasio was apprehended after surveillance video identified the vehicle she had been using. One of the purses contained $700 in cash.

Distasio was sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to two felony counts of burglary May 15, 2012.

Distasio is being held in the Macon County Jail, pending her preliminary hearing in her most recent case April 24.

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

Content retrieved from: