Did you know that Prosperident often provides support to attorneys who are involved in litigation matters for dentists? You can read about our litigation supportserviceshere
Here is an example of such a case:
A Cook County jury has awarded more than $500,000 to an Oak Park
dentist who bought another dentist’s practice, then later learned that
dentist defrauded patients and their insurance companies and inflated
Plaintiffs Dr. Anne M. Fabricius and Oak Park Prosthodontics Ltd.
sued Dr. Lawrence P. Smith, Corinne A. Smith and Distinctive Dental
Services Ltd. in August 2014, alleging Lawrence Smith provided false and
fraudulent patient information and financial records to Fabricius when
she was interested in purchasing his dental practice.
The verdict, which was reached Friday after a trial before Cook
County Associate Judge James E. Snyder, comprised $187,693 in
compensatory damages, $309,051 in punitive damages and $90,186 in
The verdict totaled $586,930.
Originally filed in the court’s Chancery Division, the case was transferred for trial to the Law Division in May.
Jurors found that Smith overstated his revenue to make his practice
seem like more of a specialty operation than it actually was.
In her amended complaint filed in June 2015, Fabricius claimed she
overpaid for Lawrence Smith’s practice because the purchase price was
based on overstated revenues.
After obtaining a $775,000 loan, she took over the office and
realized after meeting with her new patients that Smith would perform a
simple procedure on a patient but bill as if it was a complex one.
Lawrence Smith countersued Fabricius and Oak Park Prosthodontics
Ltd., claiming defamation and wrongful termination, both of which were
voluntarily dismissed by Smith before trial.
Fabricius was represented by Duane Morris LLP partners John T. Schriver and Neville M. Bilimoria.
Schriver said the practice initially appealed to his client because the office was advertised as a high-end operation.
“She took over the practice and, for the first time, was able to look
in patients’ mouths to see what he had actually done,” Schriver said.
She also said she would not have borrowed $775,000 from Bank of
America to purchase Smith’s dental practice or entered into the lease in
August 2013 had she been given accurate financial and patient
Schriver said his client feels vindicated after the three-year legal battle.
Carmen D. Caruso, a partner with the Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm, represented the defendants.
He said while he appreciated the jurors’ service, he was disappointed with their verdict.
“We are reviewing Dr. Smith’s next steps,” Caruso said.
Oak Park Prosthodontics, Ltd., et al., v. Lawrence P. Smith, DDS, et al., 14 CH 1259
Content retrieved from https://www.chicagolawbulletin.com/archives/2017/09/26/500k-dentist-fraud-9-26-17
Caren Irsuto, 56, of Schiller Park, was sentenced to six years in prison in exchange for her guilty plea to aggravated identity theft and theft. Her husband, Scott Irsuto, 59, also of Schiller Park, was sentenced to 24 months probation in exchange for pleading guilty to theft.
A woman who worked as a receptionist and bookkeeper for an Arlington Heights dentist was charged with aggravated identity theft, financial fraud and theft for, authorities allege, stealing more than $600,000 from her employer over about six years beginning in 2009.
Charged along with Caren Irsuto, 56, was her husband Scott Irsuto, 58, who faces theft and financial fraud charges.
In setting Caren Irsuto’s bond at
$600,000, Cook County Judge Marc Martin seemingly referenced the money
authorities say she stole. Martin ordered Scott Irsuto held on $28,000
cash bail, the loss authorities attributed to him. Each must post the
entire amount to be released from custody.
Caren Irsuto’s actions “had a
devastating impact on the dental practice,” said Assistant Cook County
State’s Attorney Karen Crothers, who described the dentist as a solo
practitioner who noticed the theft in early 2016 after “an increase in
business without a corresponding increase in revenue.”
He brought in a consultant and relieved Caren Irsuto of her duties, Crothers said.
On a subsequent Sunday when the
office was closed, the dentist and his wife drove by the office and saw
Caren and Scott Irsuto in the parking lot, Crothers said. When the
dentist called Irsuto to ask why, she denied being there, Crothers said.
The dentist never saw her again.
Meanwhile, an internal review
showed “inconsistencies between accounts received and insurance
reports,” Crothers said. The dentist eventually discovered Caren Irsuto
failed to deposit 1,464 checks totaling $625,526.23, she said.
The checks, made out to the
dental practice, came from 98 different insurers and dozens of patients,
Crothers said. Each bore the endorsement of the dentist, who told
authorities he did not sign any of the checks.
The defendants cashed the checks
at currency exchanges, a gas station and a local bar or deposited them
in a bank account, Crothers said, adding “it is believed the money ws
used for a variety of things.”
Scott Irsuto next appears in court on March 27. Caren Irsuto appears in court on March 29.
Bail has been set at $300,000 for a Crest Hill woman charged with stealing more than $400,000 from the Hinsdale dental office where she worked part time, according to a news release from the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.
Roxana Dusanek, of 1300 block of Harvest Drive, worked as a bookkeeper at the dental office and, using a stamp of her employer’s signature, wrote hundreds of fake checks out to her and her business, IMC Services Group, according to the release.
The 56-year-old Dusanek also sent payments from her employer’s bank account to the bank account of her business, the release said.
The thefts took place over a span of three years, from February 2014 to June 2017, until authorities at the dental office uncovered them and contacted the Hinsdale Police Department, according to the release.
Dusanek has been charged with two counts of theft in excess of $100,000, one count of continuing financial crimes enterprise and six counts of forgery. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 19.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.