Maine Embezzler Sent to Prison, Ordered to Pay Restitution

Lori Ann Savage

January 26, 2004

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RANGELEY – A federal judge sentenced a Madrid Township bookkeeper Friday to one-year in prison for engaging in a health-care fraud scheme to embezzle nearly $73,000 from her employer.

Lori A. Savage, 34, the former office manager of Dr. David McMillan’s Rangeley Family Dentistry, was also ordered to pay $72,956.81 in restitution to the dental clinic and to serve two years of supervised release after her prison term.

Savage diverted funds to pay her own credit card bills and other expenses, according to court records.

She faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

United States Attorney Paula D. Silsby stated in a release that Savage received a more lengthy sentence because Savage was found to have abused a position of private trust and to have used special skill in carrying out the fraud scheme.

Savage who was paid $13 an hour by McMillan, also owned her own bookkeeping service and had used some of the money to buy “very expensive, top of the line computer equipment.”

Court records show that between Feb. 1, 2000 and Oct. 29, 2002, Savage was the officer manager of the clinic.

Without the authority of her employer Savage prepared and executed 85 checks from the Franklin Savings Bank account of Rangeley Family Dentistry for her own personal use in paying credit card bills an other expenses in her name or the name of a family member.

Savage also made false entries into the clinic’s computerized ledger to conceal the scheme by entering payees and items into the ledger that had never been approved by Dr. McMillan.

Savage also used McMillan’s stamp signature on the checks without the dentist’s permission.

The case came to light in November 2002 after McMillan noticed a $1,000 discrepancy in payment to a supplier recorded in his computerized records.

McMillan brought in his accountant to do an audit.

In 2000, the accountant found that 37 checks were paid to four different credit accounts that did not belong to McMillan: Fashion Bug, Capital One, Universal Card and First Card.

The payments were recorded in McMillan’s office computer system as expenditures for lab and office supplies, an affidavit stated.

Silbsy stated in her release that her hope is that the one-year sentence would serve as a deterrent to others who manage clinics and offices for health care professionals in Maine.

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Maine woman receives 2-year sentence for embezzling more than $500,000 from dentist and physician







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A 46-year-old Scarborough woman was sentenced Friday in federal court to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling from two health care providers and for using the Social Security number of another person.

Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine also ordered Carrie Caporino (who also may go by the name Carrie Cole) to pay $549,469 in restitution, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank of the District of Maine.

Caporino pleaded guilty to the charges on April 30.

According to court records, between 2014 and November 2016, Caporino worked as the office manager for a southern Maine dental practice and embezzled more than $293,000 by using office credit cards for personal expenses, using the office checkbook to pay rent and other personal expenses and by making internet transfers from an office bank account to pay a personal credit card and her PayPal account.

Between December 2016 and 2017, Caporino was the office manager for a Falmouth physician and embezzled more than $255,000 from his practice by stealing checks mailed to the office by patients and insurance companies and then depositing them to her own bank accounts using her smartphone.

Court documents also stated that in January 2014, Caporino fraudulently used the Social Security number of a southern Maine resident on a health insurance application.

In announcing her sentence, Woodcock told Caporino that he found it particularly reprehensible that she victimized a dentist and a doctor, stating that her actions resulted in a “catastrophic victimization of two fine gentlemen who dedicated their lives to helping others.”

Both employers are now closed, according the U.S. Attorney’s news release.

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A Scarborough woman pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $500,000 from a dentist and a doctor.

Carrie Caporino, 46, entered the guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Portland to two counts of embezzlement and one count of Social Security number fraud.

According to authorities, from 2014 to 2016, Caporino embezzled about $295,000 from a dental practice by putting personal charges on office credit cards, using money from the practice to pay a personal credit card bill and a PayPal account, and by writing office checks to cover personal bills, including her rent.

The dental practice, which is not named in court documents, has offices in Portland, Biddeford and Yarmouth.

In 2016 and 2017, federal officials said, Caporino embezzled about $253,000 from a Falmouth doctor by depositing checks intended for the doctor into her personal checking account. She also wrote unauthorized office checks to herself, authorities said.

The Falmouth physician is not identified by name in court documents and is only referred to as the “victim” by the FBI agent who investigated the case.

According to the charges, Caporino also used a Social Security number that was not assigned to her to apply for health insurance when she worked for the dentist.

She faces up to 10 years in prison on the embezzlement counts and up to five years on the Social Security count, along with fines of up to $250,000 on each count.

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Portland, ME woman pleads guilty to stealing blank prescriptions to get oxycodone


A 32-year-old Portland woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to health care fraud and attempting to acquire oxycodone pills by deception.

From May 2015 until March 2016, Shannon Bragdon stole blank prescriptions from the dentist office where she worked and used dozens of them to pass fraudulent prescription orders at at least nine pharmacies in southern Maine, said U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty in a press release.

 Bragdon was caught by authorities on March 21, when a pharmacist suspected that the prescription Bragdon had presented was fake and called police. Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found Bragdon in the waiting area of the pharmacy and arrested her.

She faces as much as four years in prison on the drug charge and 10 years on the fraud charge, and up to $250,000 in fines for each. Her sentencing will be completed following a pre-sentencing investigation.

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Maine office manager charged with embezzling more than $100k

blankELLSWORTH — A Waldo County woman has been charged with theft and forgery after police said she allegedly bilked a business where she worked out of more than $100,000. Michelle Ludden, 35, of Jackson was summoned by Ellsworth Police Detective Dotty Small Tuesday on charges of felony-level theft and forgery after she allegedly stole $106,242.44 from a local dentist’s office over a period of 16 months. Small said Ludden worked as office manager at the practice, and as such had direct access to its finances. Small said Ludden allegedly used a debit card she was not authorized to use to fund a separate business account and then wrote checks payable to herself and others from the latter account. Small said Ludden also made cash withdrawals from that latter business account. The thefts are alleged to have occurred in a period between December 2014 and April of this year. The forgery charge stems from Ludden allegedly forging her employer’s signature to endorse the checks that she then went on to make out to herself and others. Small said the employer came to police in April after a bank informed the employer that the practice’s account was overdrawn. Small said both charges against Ludden are Class B charges. Class B theft is defined as a theft involving $10,000 or more, Small said, and is the highest level theft charge in Maine (the state does not have a Class A theft charge). Likewise, Class B forgery is the most serious forgery charge an individual can face. Ludden is due in court in Ellsworth on Tuesday, July 19.
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Former office manager gets one year sentence for stealing from Maine orthodontic office

Sandra Wallace

ROCKLAND, Maine — Sandra Wallace baby-sat her boss’s dog. She got to work early and picked up his mail. She stayed late at the orthodontist’s office and never took a vacation.

So imagine Rockland dentist Robert Rosenberg’s surprise when he found out the woman had stolen $64,194 from him over the years she was his office manager. In some ways, it made sense to him because money always had seemed tight.

“It just seemed like there was never enough money to pay the bills. And I’m an orthodontist,” Rosenberg said.

Wallace was sentenced to serve one year and one day in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to health care fraud in U.S. District Court, according to court documents filed Tuesday. Wallace also will have to pay back the $64,194 she stole from Rosenberg’s office.

According to court documents, Rosenberg complained to police last December that Wallace, who had worked for him 1993-2010, had written company checks to herself and forged his signature on them over the course of two years.

“She never took a vacation. I thought that made her a great employee. She was there first thing in the morning. She stayed late at night. It turned out it was because she didn’t want me to find out anything,” Rosenberg said Wednesday.

The affidavit filed by Brian Pellerin, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lists several incidents of thefts since 2008. Wallace had been writing checks to herself but covering her tracks by making it look like the money was paid for office expenses. The detective verified this by getting bank images of the checks.

Rockland police interviewed Wallace, and according to the federal court documents, “Wallace admitted to signing Dr. A’s name to checks she deposited into her own account without Dr. A’s permission or knowledge.”

For the orthodontist, Wallace’s actions have changed the way he runs his three-employee business.

“I used to think it was a luxury for someone else to get your mail, open your mail and put it in a neat pile on your desk. Now I do that myself. Now I get all the bills; I pay the bills,” he said. “The only thing I can say is you have to be in control of everything. Monitor everything. Even then, I think people can steal from you.”

He’s trying not to think about it too much.

“I don’t let it get me down. There’s nothing I can do about it. When it comes down to it, I’m responsible for it.”

Wallace, 55, of Rockland was sentenced for one count of health care fraud Tuesday. The punishment for that crime can be up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Wallace must report to prison by June 22.

Calls to Wallace’s attorney were unsuccessful.

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Maine Orthodontist’s Bookkeeper Gets 6 Months for Embezzling $120K

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Augusta dentist Darryl Zeleniak says he and others in his office all felt betrayed by Celine M. Davis, whom he had treated ‘as a friend.’

That’s what Darryl Zeleniak told a judge Tuesday at a sentencing hearing for Celine M. Davis, 43, the former bookkeeper at his dental practice, Augusta Orthodontics.
Davis, formerly of West Gardiner and now of Lewiston, embezzled about $120,000 from Zeleniak’s practice between Jan. 19, 2006, and Feb. 14, 2011. She pleaded guilty Oct. 25 to theft by unauthorized taking. She was sentenced Tuesday to serve six months in jail. The sentence handed down by Nivison totaled five years in prison, with all but six months suspended, and probation for three years after release. Probation conditions stipulate that she has no contact with Zeleniak, his wife and Augusta Orthodontics. Davis had worked at the dental office for more than 16 years. Zeleniak said he and the other members of the office staff — who attended the hearing — all felt betrayed by the embezzlement. “You betrayed your husband and your children, and lost their trust,” Zeleniak said in court. “You caused a tremendous amount of pain.” Davis’ father accompanied her to the hearing. She stood next to her attorney, J. Mitchell Flick, but she did not speak to the judge. Neither Davis nor Flick offered an explanation for what the embezzled cash was spent on. Davis also was ordered to pay the remaining restitution of more than $72,500. She previously paid nearly $47,000 through her 401k plan. Assistant District Attorney Brad Grant said Davis had no prior criminal record. At a previous hearing, Grant described the embezzlement scheme, which involved Davis accepting cash payments and then deleting or voiding them in the computer system after providing a receipt. The fraud was uncovered when a customer complained about an erroneous bill. Karen Zeleniak, Darryl Zeleniak’s wife, who also works at the practice, was able to reconstruct the computer records. Davis was the second woman from Kennebec County to be sentenced in recent days for embezzlement. On Friday, Bettysue Higgins, of Gardiner, was sentenced to six years in prison with all but three and a half years suspended for embezzling almost $167,000 from the Maine Trial Lawyers Association between May 2006 and September 2010. Higgins, who was the bookkeeper at the association’s two-person Augusta office, spent much of the stolen money on Internet-based games. Both Higgins and Davis align with the typical profile of embezzlers assembled by Christopher T. Marquet, CEO of Marquet International, based in Wellesley, Mass. Marquet’s firm specializes in forensic audits, but each year he releases a study describing attributes of those recently convicted of embezzlement. The report on embezzlement is available at He said the perpetrators are more frequently women and the schemes last an average of four and a half years or more. “Usually what we see is that a lot of these companies are small mom-and-pop shops and they rely completely on this woman to be honest,” Marquet said. “If she has the motivation, access and justification, then you’ve got a high risk. It’s so common and so typical, and sadly this phenomenon is going on daily. The vast majority of cases are really motivated by a lifestyle issue rather than a need issue.” Marquet said this type of fraud is usually uncovered more often in bad economic times. “In good times, it’s harder to see the thefts,” he said. “In bad times, they’re detected more frequently because of greater scrutiny that’s going on with company finances.”

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