Embezzlement in Dentistry is Not a Recent Phenomenon — This One From 1857

A new headstone marks the burial place of Emma Cunningham, acquitted of killing her lover.

Back in 1857, they were the hottest names in old New-York. Harvey Burdell and Emma Cunningham — the violent, rapacious and brutally murdered society dentist and his scheming and probably murderous mistress, mutual antagonists in the most lurid true-crime drama of the age.

For well over a century, the pair, essentially disowned by their families, lay interred in unmarked graves a few hundred yards from each other in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, their whereabouts known only to a few history buffs.

No longer. Yesterday, before a rapt if small audience of retrospective voyeurs, two sparkling granite headstones were unveiled: Harvey Burdell, 1811-1857. And Emma Augusta Hempstead Cunningham, 1818-1887. “May God rest her troubled soul,” reads the inscription.

The stones — and Mrs. Cunningham’s epitaph — are the doing of an amateur historian sufficiently obsessed with the case to spend the last seven years writing a book about it.

The man, Benjamin Feldman, a retired lawyer, real estate developer and Yiddishist, insisted that no endorsement of the couple’s evil ways was implied.

“It’s not a question of honoring them,” Mr. Feldman, a thin, ponytailed man with the bearing of a merry undertaker, said after the graveside service, news of which was published yesterday by AM New York. “It’s a question of what in Hebrew is called ‘t’chiyat ha-metim’ — raising the dead. You enlarge all of us when you bring these stories back to life.”

And what a story. In their ever-spiraling battle of bad faith and faithlessness, the two lovers managed to embody many of the ills of the age: the rampant vice and political corruption, the straitened economic and sexual circumstances of women and the destabilizing influence of new wealth on traditional social structures.

The tale, as lovingly told by Mr. Feldman in his book, “Butchery on Bond Street,” boils down to this: Harvey Burdell was a dentist of humble background who built a thriving practice in his four-story town house at 31 Bond Street, midway between the vice dens of the Bowery and the glitzier honky-tonk of lower Broadway. In his spare time, Dr. Burdell, who was divorced, enjoyed gambling, sexual predation and real estate swindling.

Emma Cunningham was a young widow with five children and was desperately seeking a man who could support her and her brood in the manner to which she had grown accustomed. She had been married to a distiller who had squandered most of his family’s fortune.

A tombstone at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn was unveiled Tuesday for Harvey Burdell, a dentist who was killed in 1857. Credit Christian Hansen for The New York Times

No one alive knows precisely how Emma met Harvey, but once they got together, in or around 1854, things got pretty intense. They returned from a whirlwind trip to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with Mrs. Cunningham pregnant. She wanted to keep the baby. He did not. She had an abortion, possibly performed by him.

Nothing if not persistent, Mrs. Cunningham insinuated herself into the dentist’s household as the landlady of the rooming house he ran out of his building. They continued their dalliance. She claimed he raped her twice, according to court papers.

“It was not a comfortable relationship,” Mr. Feldman observed.

Mrs. Cunningham tried everything to get Dr. Burdell to agree to tie the knot. She had him arrested for breach of promise to marry. In secret, she did marry a man who told the minister he was Harvey Burdell, but who was almost undoubtedly an impostor.

Three months after the ceremony, on Jan. 31, 1857, Dr. Burdell was found dead in his dental clinic. More precisely, according to The New-York Daily Times, “the body was lying upon the floor, shockingly mutilated, and surrounded with clots of blood, and the door and walls of the room besmeared with blood.”

Not to be outdone, The New York Herald described 6 of the 15 stab wounds. “Twice the steel had pierced the heart, twice the lungs had been reached with the deadly point of the stiletto, while the jugular vein and the carotid artery were both severed,” it said, according to Mr. Feldman’s book.

Then the case really took off. The coroner’s inquest was held in Dr. Burdell’s office, with witnesses testifying in the chair where his patients had recently sat. A recommendation that one of the dead man’s eyeballs be excised and his retina examined for traces of what, or whom, he saw in his dying moments was proposed and discarded. Mrs. Cunningham threw herself on the open coffin and cried, “Oh, I wish to God you could speak and tell who done it.”

More than 8,000 people tried to cram into Grace Church on Broadway at 10th Street for his funeral. Soon after, she was charged with the murder. There being no witnesses, and her lawyer arguing successfully that a member of the weaker sex afflicted with rheumatism was incapable of such a brutal attack, she was acquitted. (Mr. Feldman said he believed that Mrs. Cunningham had a prominent role in the murder even if she did not commit it herself.)

Set free, Mrs. Cunningham tackled her next mission: obtaining Dr. Burdell’s estate, estimated at $80,000. But her claim to be carrying his child was proven false when she was caught taking delivery of another woman’s baby to call her own. And her insistence that she had married Dr. Burdell similarly unraveled in the face of testimony that another paramour had been seen buying a toupee and false whiskers the day of the wedding in order to resemble Dr. Burdell.

Emma Cunningham died a pauper at the age of 69. Harvey Burdell’s murder was never solved. Both were eventually forgotten, until Jeffrey I. Richman, the historian of Green-Wood Cemetery, read an account of the case and included it in a book about the cemetery. Mr. Feldman bought the book in 2000, and a fixation was born. Mr. Feldman and the cemetery split the $6,500 cost of the grave markers.

Yesterday, as a large spider crept across Emma Cunningham’s tombstone in the crisp sunlight, Mr. Feldman recalled his excitement when he first read the twisted tale of Harvey Burdell and Emma Cunningham.

“The interplay between them,” he said, “is one of the most hideous, dysfunctional, psychopathic couplings between man and woman that I’ve ever read. I knew I had to see their graves appropriately marked.”

Content retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/nyregion/19headstones.html

A Cold Case Solved 23 Years Later — NY Dental Embezzler Convicted of 1996 Murder of Husband

Howard Pilmar, a successful New York businessman, was found dead inside his Manhattan office on March 21, 1996 — a slaying that shocked New Yorkers because of its brutality.

Pilmar’s throat was slashed and he was stabbed 48 times. The attack continued after his heart stopped beating and his body was left on the floor, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a news release.

Investigators spent more than two decades looking for his killers and finally arrested two people in 2017 — Pilmar’s widow, Roslyn Pilmar, then 60, and her brother, Evan Wald, then 43.

Friday, a jury found them guilty of second-degree murder.

Wald’s lawyer could not be reached for comment Saturday. Sanford Talkin, Roslyn Pilmar’s lawyer, told CNN, “We are disappointed in the verdict and plan to appeal and continue to fight the case.”

Prosecutors said Roslyn Pilmar had financial problems and benefited from her husband’s death.

She managed the coffee shops started by her husband inside his office supply stores and owed $15,000 in unpaid state taxes on that part of the business, the district attorney’s office said. Wald also worked in the coffee shops.

In early 1996, before Howard’s death, Roslyn Pilmar’s former employer, a dentist’s office, demanded reimbursement of approximately $200,000 it claimed she had stolen from the business, prosecutors said.

In the news release, the district attorney’s office said Roslyn Pilmar and her brother requested keys to the building where Howard Pilmar’s office was located and asked for information about how to close the office at night and where the video cameras were located in the building lobby.

“Then on March 21, 1996, the defendants met the victim at his office,” the district attorney said. Howard Pilmar’s body was found the next morning by the company’s controller.

After her husband’s death, Pilmar received around $1.2 million in life insurance benefits, according to the district attorney. She also received ownership of Howard Pilmar’s businesses, two homes and custody of the couple’s then 10-year-old son.

Roslyn Pilmar used the money to repay her debts, the DA’s office said. On April 30, 1999, she pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree for the theft from her former employer. After paying back the stolen funds, she was sentenced to probation.

The investigation found new life in 2013 after police found witnesses with new information and new evidence, blood at the crime scene that was a match to Evan Wald, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer said.

“For nearly 23 years, Roslyn Pilmar and Evan Wald evaded justice for their gruesome crime and thought they would get away with it, but today, a jury rightfully found them guilty of Murder in the Second Degree for planning Mr. Pilmar’s murder together and acting in concert to carry out the cold-blooded killing,” Vance said.

“I thank the prosecutors in my Office’s Cold Case and Forensic Sciences Unit and NYPD detectives for more than two decades of dedication to this case and ensuring that Howard’s death was never forgotten.”

Content retrieved from: https://kbzk.com/cnn-national/2019/03/09/a-businessman-was-stabbed-to-death-in-1996-his-widow-and-her-brother-have-now-been-convicted-of-the-crime/

What do you do when you can’t steal from the dentist? Steal from patients!

Arieta Gouvakis

ROCKY POINT, Long Island (WABC) — A Long Island dental assistant is under arrest, accused of stealing jewelry from patients.

Arieta Gouvakis, 38, worked as a dental assistant to Dr. Elliot Koschitzki at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry in Rocky Point.

She is accused of removing jewelry worth between $1,000 and $3,000 from two patients who were being treated at the office under her care on January 31 and February 1.

The patients were in “twilight,” under Nitrous oxide, Suffolk County police Chief Stuart Cameron said.

Neither patient realized their jewelry was missing until after they left the office, according to authorities.

The Suffolk County Police Property Recovery Squad recovered the stolen jewelry from local pawn shops.

The dental office cooperated fully with the investigation once they were notified of the allegations.

Gouvakis was arrested at her home in Manorville at approximately 12:30 a.m. Friday. Authorities say she has prior arrests and that her motivation may have been to feed a drug habit.

She is charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Dr. Nick Augenbaum, with the dental practice, said Gouvakis was hired only three weeks ago. She has since been fired.

“As soon as we were notified by our patients, we called the Suffolk County PD,” Augenbaum told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne.

He thanked Suffolk police officers for quickly recovering the patients’ stolen items.

Anyone with information or other patients who think they have also been victimized by Gouvakis are asked to contact the Seventh Squad at 631-852-8752.

Content retrieved from: https://abc7ny.com/dental-assistant-charged-with-stealing-jewelry-from-patients/5127540/

Office manager at Flushing, NY dental firm busted for pocketing $35K in insurance checks

Law enforcement agents extracted a former Flushing dental office manager and hauled her to court on charges that she allegedly stole thousands in insurance payments to the clinic.

Prosecutors said that Manhattan’s Katerin Rochet, 37, was picked up on Jan. 9 on a nine-count indictment charging her with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, criminal possession of a forged instrument and identity theft.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Rochet allegedly stole more than $35,000 in insurance payments made to the Flushing Dental Group, located at 39-01 Main St., where she worked as an office manager.

“[She] used her position to steal from the people who gave her a job,” Brown said in a Jan. 10 press release. “In deliberate acts of deception, the defendant is accused of opening several bank accounts in the dental office’s name — posing as the president of the office — and then swiped the insurance checks that were intended for the dental practice. This kind of brazen thievery will not be tolerated.”

Brown said the theft took place between January and May 2017, while Rochet was employed by Flushing Dental Group. She allegedly forged an official record from the Department of State’s Division of Corporations with the office president’s name, then used it to open several bank accounts.

Within a few months, authorities said, Rochet allegedly collected more than $35,000 in insurance checks intended for Flushing Dental Group. She allegedly deposited the checks into the accounts that she opened, then funneled the money into a bank account that her mother owned.

The scheme was unraveled through an investigation by the NYPD Queens District Attorney’s Detective Squad.

At her Jan. 9 arraignment, Rochet was ordered held on $25,000 bail and to return to court on March 14. She faces between 3 1/2 and 7 years behind bars if convicted.

Content retrieved from: https://qns.com/story/2019/01/11/office-manager-at-flushing-dental-firm-busted-for-pocketing-35k-in-insurance-checks/

“The Dentist Made Me Do It” — NY lawyer blames $63k embezzlement on son’s dental bills

A Lockport lawyer accused of stealing more than $63,000 from the proceeds of a real estate sale told an investigator that he spent the money on his 26-year-old son’s dental work.

“It went in my kid’s mouth,” Edward R. Thiel told Investigator William Thomson of the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, according to court papers.

Thomson interviewed Thiel at Thiel’s apartment in May, more than two years after the sale.

“He has had serious dental issues for the last four years,” Thiel told Thomson. “It has cost me everything. I gave him the last of my money this morning to go to the dentist.”

Thiel, 73, a former Niagara County assistant public defender, pleaded not guilty to second-degree grand larceny at his arraignment Tuesday in Lockport City Court. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in state prison.

The victims of the alleged theft are the four children of Donald K. Beutel of Wilson, a farmer and greenhouse owner who died in 2011.

He left his property at 4740 Chestnut Road in equal shares to his four grown children. They decided to sell the property to Eric W. Beutel, one of Donald’s grandchildren.

On Sept. 2, 2014, a closing for the deal was held at the Niagara County Clerk’s Office in Lockport. Thiel was Donald Beutel’s longtime personal attorney, according to William Beutel, the only one of the four siblings who lives in Niagara County.

William Beutel, in a sworn statement, said Eric Beutel brought a check for more than $7,000 to the closing, which was to be combined with mortgage money for a total of $63,684.54. Thiel took the checks and was supposed to deposit them in an escrow account.

“Mr. Thiel was to divide the proceeds from the sale by four and distribute this money to myself and my three siblings,” William Beutel said in his statement. “To this day, we have not received any money, not one cent. We made numerous attempts to resolve this matter by contacting Mr. Thiel. He never responded. In addition to that, he wouldn’t respond to us to close out the estate, either.”

William S. Beutel, who lives in Wilson, said he hasn’t talked to Thiel in at least two years.

“I don’t want to talk to him. I just want my money, and get out of my life,” Beutel said in an interview Thursday.

Niagara County Surrogate’s Court records show that County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III tried repeatedly to get Thiel to court to close out Donald Beutel’s estate, starting in 2014. At one point, the court sent Thiel a letter threatening to fine him $2,500 if he did not show up.

It took two years before Thiel filed the mandatory accounting of the estate’s assets in August 2016.

On Sept. 20, Lockport attorney Walter E. Moxham Jr. informed the court that he had taken over the estate file because Thiel was “no longer practicing law.”

The estate work was finished in 10 days, but the money from the siblings’ sale of the Chestnut Road property remains missing.

Thiel, during his May 8 meeting with Thomson of the District Attorney’s Office, acknowledged the sale proceeds were supposed to go to the children of Donald Beutel, according to the court file.

“When asked if they got the money, he said, ‘No,’ ” Thomson wrote.

When Thomson said the Beutels want their money, Thiel answered, “Well, we will have to get them their money from the attorneys’ fund,” according to court papers.

That appears to be a reference to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, maintained by the state to reimburse people who have lost money to dishonest lawyers. Thomson, according to the report, told Thiel that he would have to be arrested before that process could begin.

At the arraignment, City Judge Thomas M. DiMillo released Thiel on his own recognizance.

Content retrieved from: http://buffalonews.com/2017/06/23/lockport-attorney-charged-with-grand-larceny-said-money-paid-for-sons-dental-work/

Long Island NY woman arrested for dental office embezzlement.

Erika Lucassi

An Ozone Park, Queens, woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing money from a Manhasset dental office for nearly nine years.

Erika Lucassi, 36, was working as an office manager at Manhasset Dental on Northern Boulevard, detectives said in a news release, when she began writing fraudulent business checks to herself in January 2009 and continued through December 2017. The amount of the checks was not disclosed.

Detectives said around 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 16 Lucassi also stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

Lucassi is charged with second-degree larceny and first-degree falsifying business records and was arrested without incident.

She was set to be arraigned Wednesday in Nassau County First District Court.

Content retrieved from: https://theislandnow.com/manhasset-107/queens-woman-charged-grand-larceny-manhasset-dental-office/

Upstate NY Woman charged with stealing money from dentist office patients

A woman who worked in a local dental office is accused of stealing money from patients.

On Friday, New Windsor Police arrested 32-year-old Carmen Alvarado-Green of Wallkill on four-counts of falsifying business records, grand larceny, felonies, and three misdemeanor counts of petit larceny.The arrest came after a two-month investigation by the Town of New Windsor Police Department’s Detective Division. The investigation revealed that Alvarado-Green altered business records and stole money from patients at Windsor Dental, located in the Town of New Windsor, police say.

Alvarado-Green was arraigned in New Windsor Court. Bail was set at $10,000 cash or $25,000 bond. She was later released after posting bond.

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

Read More: Hudson Valley Dental Worker Stole Money From Patients, Police Say | http://hudsonvalleypost.com/hudson-valley-dental-worker-stole-money-from-patients-police-say/?trackback=tsmclip

NYU dental school workers busted in identity-theft operation

James Giscombe Jr

Trying to get information on a credit card scam at NYU’s Dental School was like pulling teeth.

A marijuana bust led police to uncover a massive identity theft operation that officials at the prestigious university tried to hush up, law enforcement sources told The Post.

Joel Scott and James Giscombe Jr., who work with patients treated at the school, were busted last summer for allegedly lifting credit card information from more than 350 victims using a mini card skimmer.

They allegedly opened credit card accounts with it and went on shopping sprees totaling about $100,000.

Scott, 24 and Giscombe, 31, were allegedly seen on video surveillance using the stolen cards to purchase Long Island Railroad and Metro North tickets, which authorities said they sold to their buddies for half price, sources said.

They are also accused of selling some of the stolen information to other scammers across the country.

Despite receiving several complaints from victims, the school did not notify other patients to be on the alert until the NYPD made the arrests, the sources said.

The fraud was finally brought to light when a Queens gang unit officer collared Scott for buying pot in St. Albans on May 18, 2013. During the bust, the cop noticed a skimmer and 19 credit cards in his BMW, according to court documents.

The officer downloaded the skimmer and found the patients’ information, officials said.

NYU officials claim they weren’t aware of the scam until police contacted them the day after Scott’s arrest.

Scott and Giscombe were terminated on June 5 and July 1, respectively, after an internal investigation by the university.

“The college has instituted new procedures to prevent this type of misuse of information from recurring,” said NYU spokesman Philip Lentz.

During the investigation, cops executed a search warrant in the home of Patricia Graham, chief of staff for the schools executive vice president, who Scott lived with.

Giscombe’s apartment was also searched by investigators who reported finding a knife, a gun and ammo.

Scott and Giscombe face up to a year in jail for each forged instrument count. Giscombe also faces up to 15 years in prison on the weapons charges.

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://nypost.com/2014/05/11/nyu-dental-school-workers-busted-in-identity-theft-operation/

Acquitted of murder charges, Kingston NY dentist goes to prison for perjury, insurance fraud

Kingston dentist Gilberto Nunez sentenced to 2-1/3 to 7 years in prison

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> The Kingston dentist who was acquitted last year of killing his lover’s husband was sentenced on Tuesday to a maximum of seven years in state prison for numerous unrelated charges.

Gilberto Nunez, 49, of Poughkeepsie, was sentenced by Ulster County Judge Donald A. Williams for charges related to insurance fraud and lying on a pistol permit application. Williams called Nunez a “calculated liar” who has “shown absolutely no remorse.”

“You are devoid of any shame,” Williams said. “Tragically, and perhaps pathologically, you believe that society’s rules do not apply to you.

“Because I see no remorse, I see no chance of rehabilitation,” the judge said.

Nunez was convicted of a total of 12 felonies at three separate trials in Ulster County Court in 2016:

• During the spring trial at which he was acquitted of murdering Saugerties resident Thomas Kolman, Nunez was found guilty of two counts of perjury for having a fake CIA identification card on his computer and for giving Kolman’s wife, Linda, with whom Nunez was having an affair, a letter purporting to be from a CIA agent.

• In October, he was convicted of grand larceny, insurance fraud and falsifying business records, all related to an insurance claim he submitted after a February 2014 fire at a building he owned next to his dental office on Washington Avenue in Kingston. The jury agreed with the allegation that Nunez improperly received an $8,400 insurance payment for what he claimed was rent he lost due to the fire.

• And in November, he was found guilty of perjury, offering a false instrument, and filing an apparently false sworn statement for claiming on a pistol permit application that he never was terminated or discharged from employment or military service for cause. Nunez was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1990 under “other than honorable conditions” after being absent without leave, or AWOL, for almost three years.

Williams sentenced Nunez to 1-1/3 to four years in prison for each of the convictions associated with the pistol permit application, to be served concurrently; and one to three years for each of the charges associated with the insurance claim, also to be served concurrently.

But the first and second sentences will be served consecutively, meaning the full term is 2-1/3 to seven years — with the minimum reduced to two years because of time Nunez already has spent in jail.

Nunez also was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for the charges related to the fake CIA documents, but that sentence is to be concurrent with the others, so it doesn’t raise the total.

Orange County Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese, the special prosecutor at all three of Nunez’s trials, asked Williams to give Nunez the maximum allowable sentence for each charge and to make all of them run consecutively, which could have led to a maximum of 42 years in prison.

In arguing for the harsh sentence, Albanese said Nunez committed the crimes to manipulate others for his own benefit.

“He is truly evil,” she said. “Society deserves protection from his sociopathic, narcissistic behavior.”

Defense attorney Evan Lipton asked Williams to order just six months of jail time and five years of probation, the sentence recommended by the Ulster County Probation Department. Pointing to 130 letters sent to the court in support of Nunez, Lipton said the dentist is a respected member of the community.

Williams said that under other circumstances, the charges of which Nunez was convicted probably would have led to a plea bargain resulting in misdemeanor charges, and the judge scoffed at the suggestion by Albanese that all of the sentences run consecutively, or back to back.

Still, the judge had harsh words for Nunez.

“What these trials demonstrated is that he was an individual who was consumed, consumed by an illicit affair” and was “willing to do absolutely anything at all in order to promote his prurient interest,” the judge said.

Williams said the thing he found “most troubling” was the “eerie calm” Nunez displayed during the six hours of police interrogation about the death of Thomas Kolman, who Nunez claimed was his best friend.

“What struck this court … was how eerily calm you were through this interview,” the judge said to Nunez. “That eerie calm will never leave me.”

Nunez was charged with second-degree murder in October 2015 for Thomas Kolman’s November 2011 death. Prosecutors alleged the dentist killed the 44-year-old man by lacing a cup of coffee with a medical sedative so that Nunez could have Linda Kolman to himself.

The defense in the murder trial said Nunez had nothing to do with the death and that it could have been the result of a heart problem.

Nunez was freed from the Ulster County Jail on $1 million bail shortly after his murder arrest, but he was returned to the jail after his November conviction in the pistol permit case to await sentencing.

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.dailyfreeman.com/general-news/20170207/kingston-dentist-gilberto-nunez-sentenced-to-2-13-to-7-years-in-prison

Former Niagara Falls NY dental office manager spared prison

Louis Carr

Louis J. Carr, 42, of Niagara Falls, the former front desk administrator at a Buffalo area dental office, was spared a federal prison term and was placed on probation for two years by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara Wednesday on his conviction for selling about 75 forged prescriptions for hydrocodone last year for $50 to $60 apiece.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser said Carr between March 2014 and last September created the forged prescriptions using a stamp with a dentist’s signature. He printed them on the office computer system and then deleted all of them. He was nabbed by an investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the prosecutor said.

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://buffalonews.com/2015/06/24/former-dental-office-manager-spared-prison/