Lots Going On at Michigan’s Muskegon Family Care


There seems to be a lot of activity at this federally-funded medical and dental clinic.

First, media reports suggested that the State Police were investigating “possible embezzlement involving staff members at the Muskegon Family Care facility in Muskegon Heights.”

The media reports single out former CEO Sheila Bridges and discuss a 2014 federal review that identified inappropriate spending on the part of Bridges, including first-class airfares, five-star hotels, and limousines.

The interim CEO of the clinic, citing financial difficulties, laid off about two thirds of the employees on February 14, 2020 and announced that it would shut down on March 13, 2020.

Some of the fired workers commenced a lawsuit on February 16, claiming that they received inadequate notice of termination.

On February 17, 2020, a news release indicated that the shut down would actually take place at the end of March 2020. (see https://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/02/muskegon-family-care-health-clinic-announces-closure-apologizes-for-misunderstanding.html)

Next, on February 21, Sheila Bridges, the former CEO, filed a “whistleblower lawsuit” against the clinic, claiming claiming it had a “sexually hostile” working environment, and that she was fired after making a complaint against a member of the clinic’s board in November, 2019.

Her lawsuit also claims that officials at Muskegon Family Care made “false statements” to others that implied Bridges had embezzled from the health clinic. (see https://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/03/former-ceo-files-whistleblower-lawsuit-against-muskegon-family-care-clinic.html for a discussion of the lawsuit).

On February 28, 2020, Dan Oglesby, the newly-appointed CEO of the clinic, announced that the planned closure would not be taking place and that the clinic is accepting new patients. (see https://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/2020/02/new-muskegon-health-clinic-ceo-makes-stunning-announcement-it-wont-close.html)

Stay tuned – we expect that there is more to follow.

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Essexville MI woman pleads guilty to stealing prescriptions for opiates from dental office

blank BAY CITY, MI — An Essexville woman police say stole prescription forms and used them to obtain controlled painkillers has accepted a plea offer. Heather M. Malone, 32, on Wednesday, March 1, appeared in Bay County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining a prescription by fraud. The charge is a four-year felony. In exchange, the prosecution dismissed a charge of larceny in a building, also a four-year felony. Circuit Judge Harry P. Gill is to sentence Malone at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17. Malone’s case dates to July 14, 2015. That day, a Bay County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a theft complaint placed by Dr. Raul Mosqueda, who has dental offices at 4181 Shrestha Driver in Bangor Township. Mosqueda said several prescription sheets had been stolen and he speculated Malone, a former employee who had quit a year and a half previously, was to blame, court records show. Mosqueda told the deputy that he recently needed some painting done in his offices. He ran into Malone and she offered to do that job. Malone and another man in mid-June visited the offices to perform the task, the dentist told the deputy. Though Mosqueda paid Malone $2,500, she never completed the task, he told the deputy. On July 7, Mosqueda began receiving calls from several pharmacies asking if he had written prescriptions for Malone. He told them he had not. Mosqueda provided the deputy with data recorded by the Michigan Automated Prescription System (or MAPS), showing multiple prescription requests in his name for Malone and others starting on June 18, court records show. Between June 18 and July 2, Malone used the prescription forms in attempts to obtain 130 tablets of hydrocodone for herself, with seven others attempting to acquire 460 such tablets at pharmacies in Bay and Saginaw counties, court records show. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. Brand names include Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab. By July 27, Malone was lodged in the Bay County Jail on an unrelated matter (specifically, an armed robbery allegation). The next day, the initial deputy and a detective interviewed her. During their conversation, Malone said she did steal the prescription sheets from Mosqueda’s desk. She and another man had used them to write numerous bogus prescriptions, though she said the pills obtained were used for personal use and never sold, court records show. “Heather stated that she and (the man) would go to the various pharmacies with the individuals and wait for them to come out with the prescriptions for controlled substances,” states a police report contained in court files. “When the individuals came out of the pharmacy they would divide the pills three ways.” Malone also claimed Mosqueda was aware of her addiction and had previously written her prescriptions for Vicodin. According to court records, between May 2014 and May 2015, Mosqueda had only written two prescriptions for Malone, one for tramadol and one for hydrocodone.
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Content retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2017/03/essexville_woman_pleads_guilty_2.html

Saginaw MI woman unsuccessfully appeals embezzlement conviction


Debry Ann Davis (who sometimes uses the last name Smothers) was convicted in 2012 of embezzling between $1,000 and $20,000, and was sentenced to a prison term of between six months and five years.  She tried appealing on several grounds; the appeal was dismissed.

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MI employee embezzles reimbursement checks at Adrian dental clinic


An employee of an Adrian dental clinic was found to have defrauded both her employer and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The woman was discovered to be embezzling insurance reimbursement checks sent to the office. She manipulated the computer system so the patient accounts appeared balanced and the missing money was not noticed.

The dental clinic learned of the embezzlement from the bank where the employee was depositing the checks into a personal account through the ATM. The Sheriff’s Department contacted our Corporate and Financial Investigations because several of the checks were issued by us.

Further investigation revealed that not only had this employee embezzled from the dental clinic, but she had submitted false claims to us for dental services supposedly rendered to her family members.

The employee created the false claims in the clinic’s computer system, and made the claim payable to the subscriber, so checks were issued to her home address. The woman had created claims for crowns, X-rays and mouth guards for family members.

Additional research revealed that the employee had conducted the same scheme when previously employed at another dental clinic.

The woman was charged in Lenawee County with Embezzlement, Health Care Fraud, Forgery and Uttering and Publishing a Financial Transaction Device. She pled guilty and was ordered to pay full restitution to the dental clinic and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The defendant will re-pay us $14,923.56 and her (now former) employer $9,566.19.

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Content retrieved from http://www.bcbsm.com/health-care-fraud/fraud-files/archive/employee-embezzles-reimbursement-checks-at-adrian-dental-clinic.html

Michigan dental clerk arrested for embezzlement

stephanie-wilkinson-jpg See video here — http://wwmt.com/news/local/branch-co-receptionist-pleads-no-contest-to-embezzlement-charge COLDWATER — Coldwater Police arrested a former employee of Smile Avenue Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for embezzlement after an investigation started with customer complaints. Stephanie Wilkinson, 42, of Coldwater township, was charged with one count of embezzlement, a five-year felony, and making false entries into medical records, a four-year offense. According to the probable cause affidavit, customers complained to the practice they were being billed for services for which they had already paid. The customers had receipts for cash payments made in both 2014 through this year. An audit found over 200, with a total allegedly taken of $1,764. Entries had been made into the patient records that did not reflect the payments. Wilkinson denied to police she had taken the money. Wilkinson was arrested on a warrant with a $25,000 bond. Preliminary proceedings were set before the end of the month.
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Michigan office manager accused of embezzling


Northern Michigan has yet another high dollar embezzlement case on its hands. This time, investigators say a Roscommon County woman stole at least $50,000 from her former employer. They say she took money from Woodland Family Dental in Higgins Lake for eight years. Terese Valko faces charges of embezzling and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. She was the office manager at the dental office.

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Content retrieved from http://www.9and10news.com/Global/story.asp?S=15755786

A 52-year-old Roscommon woman is set to be arraigned on charges of embezzlement between $50,000 and $100,000 and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud Dec. 13 in 83rd District Court, Roscommon, after a Michigan State Police investigation that lasted almost two years.

The suspect was the office manager at Woodland Family Dental at Higgins Lake, and is suspected of having stolen $77,000 from the business according to Woodland owner Dr. Cheryl Mitchell, D.D.S. Mitchell said the embezzlement is believed to have begun when the suspect, who was a close family friend, began working there almost eight years ago.

State Police Sgt. Robert Green said an investigation was initiated in the case in early 2009.

Mitchell said many patients were affected by the crime, and that it took over a year to straighten out the business’s accounts because the suspect “was running several scams.” She said the problem came to light when she was notified that a wage garnishment order against the suspect had been hidden and the business was being sued.

Green said the suspect is also accused of obtaining the narcotic hydrocodone by fraud.

source: http://www.houghtonlakeresorter.com/news/2010-12-09/News/Office_manager_to_be_arraigned_on_embezzlement_dru.html

Restitution to cancel jail in Michigan embezzlement case


By Dennis Pelham
A tearful apology was given Wednesday in Lenawee County Circuit Court by a woman convicted of embezzling from an Adrian dental office during the two years she worked there as office manager.

A one-year jail term handed down to Tina Marie Sawicki, 37, of Adrian was suspended for six months to allow her a chance to finish paying off about $25,000 in restitution and investigative expenses. If the money is paid, she is to serve only four weekends in the county hard labor program rather than jail time.

“I’d like to apologize to everyone I’ve hurt and who I stole from,” Sawicki said. “I’m truly sorry for all the pain I’ve caused everyone.”

Two women who worked with Sawicki at Adrian Family Dentistry told the court not to take her apologies seriously.

“I?don’t think she is truly remorseful,” said Jennifer Gentner, reading from a letter from co-worker Sonia Garcia during the sentencing. “Her tears are not for remorse; it is only because she has been caught and fears going to jail,” Gentner read from the letter.

Sawicki was charged in December with embezzling from the dental office from January 2007 through July 2009. She was also charged with making false claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield. She pleaded guilty to the embezzlement count on Jan. 20.

Defense attorney Graham Teague argued that Sawicki earned leniency by telling the truth to investigators about what she did. A majority of the restitution was paid Wednesday, he said, causing her family financial difficulties.

Teague reserved the right to challenge a $5,623 bill from Blue Cross for expenses it claims were incurred in investigating false claims by Sawicki. Actual losses from the false claims were less than $4,000.

“I just think that’s unreasonable,” Teague said.

Judge Margaret M.S. Noe included the Blue Cross bill in the restitution order, saying it is part of the losses the insurer suffered.

“They are in no position to overcome your deception,” Noe said.

She told Sawicki her acts also embarrassed and humiliated the people she worked with at the dental office as well as her own family.

“You were placed in a position of trust and you manipulated the financial records,” Noe said. Sawicki took advantage of the trust and kindness of the people who employed her, she said, stealing money for herself while they struggled to pay their bills.

Sawicki was also placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay $1,250 court costs.

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Content retrieved from http://www.lenconnect.com/article/20100225/NEWS/302259917

Michigan woman embezzles $80k, sentenced to 8 months in jail


ESCANABA – A Gladstone woman, accused of embezzling more than $80,000 from her former employer, a dentist, made a plea agreement in Delta County Circuit Court Monday.

Bambi Lynn Johnson, 54, of 1019 Minneapolis Ave., Gladstone, was arrested in October on a charge of embezzlement of more than $50,000 but less than $100,000. During Monday’s court proceeding, Johnson pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzlement of more than $20,000 but less than $50,000. In exchange for this plea, the court dismissed the first count.

The felony charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater.

The charge relates to Johnson’s employment as a bookkeeper for Gladstone dentist Richard Ballard from 1998 to September 2007. Johnson worked at the dentist office, 716 Superior Ave., Gladstone, from 1990 to September 2007 when she left to work elsewhere. She was in charge of depositing funds for the business.

According to court records, as an employee of Ballard’s, Johnson converted to her own use, without consent, proceeds from the business. During Monday’s plea proceeding, Circuit Court Judge Stephen Davis ordered Johnson pay a restitution of $80,000 to the dentist.

Sentencing will take place in circuit court in about six weeks.

A warrant for Johnson’s arrest was authorized Oct. 23 following investigation by Gladstone Public Safety. The following week she was arrested and arraigned. She is free on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond.

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Content retrieved from  http://www.dailypress.net/page/content.detail/id/508915.html


Michigan State Prison Inmate Details for JOHNSON, BAMBI LYNN



Michigan State Prison (DOC) Booking Details


MDOC Number:
SID Number:
Racial Identification:
5′ 4″
168 lbs.
Date of Birth:
09/30/1954  (61)
Image Date:
Current Status:
Earliest Release Date:
Assigned Location:
Discharge Date:
Security Level:
Scar- Arm – Broken arm
Tattoo- Left Ankle – butterfly
Tattoo- Left Ankle – moon/star swirl
Tattoo- Right Ankle – moon/star/rainbow
Tattoo- Upper Right Leg – Mushroom
Sentence 1
Embezzlement – Agent or Trustee $20,000 to Under $50,000
Minimum Sentence:
Maximum Sentence:
5 years 0 months
Court File#:
Date of Offense:
Date of Sentence:
Conviction Type:
Nolo Contendere
Discharge Date:
Discharge Reason:
Offender Discharge

Reported break-in and drug theft from a Michigan dental office was actually done by an employee

kyle-hughes-e1392292804771 PAW PAW, Mich (February 14, 2014) – A reported break-in at a dental office in Antwerp Township has led to an investigation involving drug fraud and stolen medication. The investigation started on Tuesday, after deputies were alerted to a reported break-in at a dental office in Paw Paw.  Detectives discovered an employee at the office had stayed after work and had invited friends into the office.  While the group was there, several items were stolen including credit cards, blank checks, shoes, a prescription pad and a doctor’s signature stamp. Deputies believe the suspects involved may have called in prescriptions to several Kalamazoo area pharmacies using the doctor’s identification numbers for the prescriptions.  After they were called in, deputies say it appears friends went to the pharmacies to get those prescriptions filled. On Thursday, two suspects were charged in connection to the investigation. Kyle Hughes, 23, from Galesburg is lodged in the Van Buren County Jail on charges of Larceny in a Building.Emily Griffin, 24, also from Galesburg, is facing possession of methamphetamine charges in connection to this investigation. Deputies say the investigation into the prescription drug fraud continues, and more charges may be possible.
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Content retrieved from http://fox17online.com/2014/02/14/theft-at-dental-office-leads-to-drug-fraud-investigation-larceny-charge/

Petoskey MI woman sent to jail for 11 months for embezzlement

Melissa-Kay-Grawey-300x226 A Petoskey woman was sentenced Monday in 57th Circuit Court to serve the next 11 months in jail for embezzlement. Melissa Kay Grawey, 42, was alleged in February of 2009 to have embezzled more than $94,000 from her former employer, Northern Dental Group PC in Pellston, during a two-and-a-half year period. She was originally charged with seven felony counts, including one count of embezzlement between $50,000 and $100,000, a 15-year felony; three counts of forgery and three counts of uttering and publishing, each of which are 14-year felonies; however, these charges were dismissed once Grawey took a plea agreement from the Emmet County Prosecutor’s Office. On Nov. 24, during a hearing in circuit court, Grawey pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement, $20,000 or more, which is a 10-year felony, while the remaining charges against her were dropped. During Grawey’s sentencing Monday, both dentists from Northern Dental Group, Dr. William Gillette and Dr. Eric Hayhurst, as well as several employees from their practice, attended to speak out about the impact of this crime on their business. “I could not do justice to (Dr. Gillette’s) words, but he conveyed, very well, that the impact on the business was felt by every employee,” said Duane Beach, chief assistant prosecutor for Emmet County. “That the monetary impact was just one aspect of the loss suffered by the business …”
 Beach said Judge Charles W. Johnson sent a message to Grawey, as well as any person who has or would commit this type of crime.
“Judge Johnson stated that embezzlement is stealing, except that the stealing is done by someone in a position of trust — it is both hurtful and harmful, and merits a significant punishment,” Beach said. Johnson sentenced Grawey to serve the next 11 months in jail, to be put on five years of probation, to notify the Air Force Reserve of her criminal activity, as well as ordered her to pay restitution to Northern Dental Group PC in the amount of $53,145.51. This payment, however, is pending, as a result of a claim from Northern Dental Group PC, that Grawey owes them $135,205.15 in restitution. A hearing for this claim will be set within the next 30 days.
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Content retrieved from http://articles.petoskeynews.com/2010-01-05/embezzlement_24094700