A Cumru Township woman has been charged with embezzling about $140,000 over six years from a Spring Township dental practice where she was the business manager.
Lois Lombardo, 56, of the first block of Flint Ridge Road stole the money from the accounts of Forry & Huber Associates, 1920 Van Reed Road, detectives said Friday.
Lombardo waived a hearing Tuesday before District Judge Ann L. Young on 37 counts each of forgery, identity theft and theft by deception. Lombardo remained free pending further court action.
Spring detectives arrested Lombardo, a 28-year employee, in January following an eight-month investigation.
Owners Dr. Robert Forry and Dr. David Huber contacted police May 1, nearly one year after auditor Michael Rowley of Herbein & Co. Inc., Spring Township, found discrepancies between deposit slips and actual deposits.
Lombardo was fired and agreed to repay the money. She repaid $26,216, then stopped. The doctors contacted police.
The doctors gave Detective Dennis A. Riegel a copy of Rowley’s report, showing $140,811 was taken.
Lombardo forged 37 checks, payable to her for $23,449.
There also were $103,113 in deposit discrepancies, $3,917 in billing discrepancies and $3,000 in charges unrelated to the business.
Lombardo kept cash that was to be deposited and replaced it with checks from patients’ insurance companies.
She also adjusted patients’ billing accounts to conceal the misappropriations.
In addition to the money that Lombardo repaid, the doctors’ insurance company reimbursed them $20,000, reducing their total loss to $91,145.
Riegel said that Lombardo has cooperated, but he did not know what she did with the money.
NORRISTOWN – A former West Reading man is headed to state prison for stealing more than $100,000 from a Lower Pottsgrove dental business where he worked.
Grover Michael Cowan, 35, formerly of the 800 block of Summit Chase Drive, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to two to seven years in a state correctional facility after he pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received in connection with incidents that occurred between May 2005 and July 2006 while he worked for American Dental Service of Pottstown.
Judge William J. Furber Jr., who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Cowan to pay $102,424 in restitution to the dental business, which is located in the 1800 block of East High Street.
“He’s a con man. He’s been conning people his whole life in order to steal from them,” argued Assistant District Attorney Christopher Parisi, who sought a state prison sentence against Cowan. “When you’re dealing with someone like that, the only way to put an end to that activity is to get a state sentence that sends a message that we aren’t going to tolerate it.”
Cowan also admitted that his arrest in the theft case represented a violation of the probation and parole he received in December 2003 after he pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by deception in connection with $1,500 that went missing from Today’s Furniture and Bedding in Jenkintown where Cowan had once worked.
“The con has ended and Mr. Cowan is now a resident of the state prison,” Parisi said.
Cowan, who most recently claimed he lived in New Kensington, which is near Pittsburgh, was represented by defense lawyer Gerald Ingram.
Cowan, who was formerly employed as a treatment plan coordinator at American Dental Service of Pottstown, was initially arrested in August 2006 by Lower Pottsgrove Police and charged with forgery and theft by deception. In that case, authorities alleged Cowan placed his name as the payee on a $4,000 check that was submitted to the company from a patient for dental services.
Cowan allegedly cashed the altered check and retained the $4,000 for himself.
As part of Cowan’s duties while working at American Dental he was responsible for establishing payment plans and collecting payments for services rendered to patients, authorities alleged. In his position, Cowan verified insurance coverage, established credit for patients via loans and collected cash and checks.
Cowan was re-arrested in February 2007 and charged with additional forgery and theft-related offenses in connection with allegations he stole more than $100,000 from American Dental and stole the identities of several customers between May 2005 and July 2006, according to court documents filed by Lower Pottsgrove detectives.
The additional alleged thefts were uncovered after company officials conducted an internal audit of all accounts handled by Cowan.
The alleged thefts totaled $102,424, according to court papers. Authorities said Cowan spent the money and none of it was recovered.
Testimony and court documents revealed that Cowan still is awaiting court action on other theft-related charges in Westmoreland County.
NEW BRIGHTON – Dr. William Logan didn’t know that the management software he had been using for 10 years gave him the ability to audit the records of his New Brighton dental practice.
That discovery, late last year, led him to a more startling find.
New Brighton Area police said the woman who had been manager of Logan’s practice, at 601 Fourth Ave., had skimmed at least $10,500 from the practice over the last three years, until she was fired Dec. 29, when the software’s audit function uncovered several discrepancies.
Polixeni Kouvaras, 32, of 404 B Sharon Road in Moon Township has been charged with theft by deception.
She was arraigned Friday and released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
According to court records, Kouvaras served as Logan’s office manager from July 2002 until she was fired in December. In that capacity, she was responsible for all billing for the office.
Police said Kouvaras employed 15 methods to cover her tracks as she skimmed cash from payments to the office, from offering unauthorized discounts for cash payments and making false insurance adjustments to pocketing cash co-payments and altering fee schedules.
Investigators also said Kouvaras also took nearly $1,100 without trying to hide any discrepancies.
NORRISTOWN – A former dental assistant and a receptionist at a Main Line dental office were not smiling when they learned they’ll be taking their toothbrushes to jail for performing illegal, after-hours dental procedures.
Cheryl A. Laing, 46, and Jessica Gullickson, 25, once roommates who resided in the 2100 block of South Sproul Road, Broomall, Delaware County, each was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Monday to two to 23 months in the county jail, to be followed by four years’ probation, in connection with incidents that occurred when they secretly worked after-hours, setting up their own fake practice at the Smilz 4 Life dental office in the 700 block of Old Lancaster Road in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion between 2010 and 2012.
“You’re not qualified to render professional care. What I see here is an attempt to beat the system for pecuniary gain. Well, the system caught up with you,” President Judge William J. Furber Jr. scolded the women. “Honestly, I don’t know why you did this. Extra money? It’s greed.
“Did you ever consider the health risks you’re creating for people? What if an emergency occurred? You’re not capable of helping them,” added Furber, who also ordered each of the women to perform 200 hours of community service.
Laing and Gullickson, each of whom pleaded guilty to charges of unauthorized practice of dentistry, theft by deception and recklessly endangering other persons, must report to the jail Jan. 6 to begin serving the sentences. They are eligible for the jail’s work release program.
With the charges, prosecutors alleged Laing and Gullickson performed dental procedures, while not being properly licensed, that included taking X-rays, injecting numbing agents, performing root canals, tooth extractions, installing crowns and braces and dispensing medications. The illegally conducted X-rays were filed under the name of Laing’s pet dog, Scottie, testimony revealed.
“You can’t have people holding themselves out to be professionals when they don’t have the credentials. There’s too much at stake,” said Assistant District Attorney John N. Gradel. “These two people are not altruistic in any way, shape or form. They’re just in it for the money, pure and simple.”
Authorities alleged Laing and Gullickson did not acquire patient histories and did not investigate if patients had drug allergies before providing treatment at their phony practice.
During regular office hours, Laing was employed as a licensed dental assistant at Smilz 4 Life, which was operated by a licensed dentist. Under the law, Laing was not permitted to perform any of the procedures and had to perform her duties while the licensed dentist of the office was present, court papers indicate.
But after business hours and after the licensed dentist left, Laing, authorities alleged, set up her own dental practice at Smilz 4 Life while holding herself out to patients as a licensed dentist.
Gullickson, a receptionist at Smilz 4 Life during regular business hours, acted as Laing’s dental assistant, authorities alleged.
Laing, investigators alleged, advertised through word of mouth in the Bryn Mawr area that she could perform virtually all dental procedures for uninsured patients at a drastically reduced price. Laing and Gullickson accepted cash payments and kept no patient records of their activities.
The owner and licensed dentist of the practice told investigators he was unaware that his business was open after hours and that Laing and Gullickson provided dental services without his knowledge, according to the criminal complaint filed by Lower Merion Detective John Mick.
“I never grew up to be a criminal, mean or malicious to anyone,” Laing, who was represented by defense lawyer Jason Donoghue, told the judge before learning her fate. “I’m sorry for any inconvenience that I caused or any harm.”
“I never meant for any of this to happen. My intentions were never to be criminal,” added Gullickson, who was presented by lawyer David Mischak.
Mischak and Donoghue argued for leniency on behalf of the women, characterizing the women as “caring and giving,” women interested in helping the less fortunate and who perform community service through local churches to help the elderly and homeless.
The judge ordered the women to share in the payment of more than $5,100 in restitution to the victims of their scheme.
One patient told authorities that during her root canal, Laing left the room to see another patient and told Gullickson, who had no medical or dental training whatsoever, to assist and “look for the roots,” according to the criminal complaint. Another patient reported to police he was in “excruciating pain” for the 45 minutes it took Laing to extract his tooth.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A resident of Allegheny County, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to 41 months in prison and restitution in the amount of $386,247 on her conviction of health care fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on Jill E. D’Angelo, 45.
According to information presented to the court, D’Angelo was the office manager of the dental offices located on Old Clairton Road in Pittsburgh, Pa. D’Angelo collected and deposited cash co-payments from patients, billed insurers, and reconciled billings and payments. During the course of the scheme from May 2003 to May 2010, she embezzled cash co-payments totaling $168,335.41. She also used a computer program that sent invoices directly to insurance companies. D’Angelo inputted a large number of dental services that were not rendered by the dental offices thereby causing the insurance companies to pay for services not rendered. The insurance companies in turn sent checks to the dental office as payment for these never rendered services. D’Angelo intercepted the insurance company’s payments, forged the dentist’s name and deposited the fraudulent proceeds into her personal account. This part of the embezzlement totaled $306,703.72. The total amount embezzled by D’Angelo was approximately $475,039.13.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Bissoon stated that due to the large sums of money embezzled and the betrayal of trust a 41-month sentence is necessary and appropriate.
Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the United States Postal Inspection Service for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of D’Angelo.
Clarks Summit police charged the former office manager of a borough dentist this week with stealing nearly $27,000 from her employer.
Leah Marie Price, 41, 821 Mehan St., Dickson City, secretly created a second credit card in her name when her boss, Charles Dennis, DDS, filled out paperwork to open an American Express business account, Officer Edward Orzalek wrote in a criminal complaint.
“It’s frustrating when you really trust someone and treat them like family,” Dr. Dennis said.
In November, American Express contacted him and said they were stopping the account because of “flags.” He learned his “second card” had made 63 percent of the account’s purchases. He had no idea about a second card.
Dr. Dennis confronted Ms. Price and she admitted she made personal purchases. She wrote a statement and said it was an “accident” and she made the purchases because she was “stuck in a corner” and “panicked.” Dr. Dennis fired her.
She agreed to pay the amount she stole, which she said was $7,000, in lieu of criminal charges. Dr. Dennis had an accountant, Paul J. Cobb, go over the statements and found that Ms. Price paid different credit cards not owned by the business by charging them to the business card in the amount of $26,925.33. Officer Orzalek and Police Chief Chris Yarns met with Dr. Dennis, Mr. Cobb and Dr. Dennis’ attorney, Jason Mattioli, on Friday to report the theft.
Dr. Dennis did not know Ms. Price’s history, he said.
Prior guilty plea
Ms. Price pleaded guilty in August 2012 to one misdemeanor count of theft by unlawful taking. The plea deal dropped one felony receiving stolen property charge and 29 felony forgery charges on accusations by detectives in the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office that she stole $18,716.25 from Linwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scranton, where she worked as a business office manager. Detectives said during her September 2011 arrest that she submitted insurance bills for payment of five people who did not work at the facility over the course of one year.
County Judge Vito Geroulo sentenced her to three years of probation on Feb. 6, 2013.
Dr. Dennis learned of the crime after the new charges had been filed, he said.
Ms. Price is charged with forged credit cards, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property, each felonies. Bail was set at $25,000 and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
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Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry office manager Leah Price arraigned on charges of allegedly paying personal bills with company credit card
By Elizabeth Baumeister – firstname.lastname@example.org
Leah Price, an office manager at Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, 116 N. State St., Clarks Summit, was arraigned on theft charges for allegedly using a company credit card, owned by Charles W. Dennis, DMD, to pay off $26,925.33 worth of personal credit card bills.
Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington Journal
UPDATED: 3:10 p.m.
CLARKS SUMMIT — An office manager at the Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry was arraigned on theft charges Dec. 9 by Senior Magistrate John D. Whitesell, Chinchilla, according to borough Police Chief Christopher Yarns.
According to the criminal complaint, Leah Marie Price, 41, of Dickson City, is charged with using a company credit card, owned by Charles W. Dennis, DMD, to pay off $26,925.33 worth of personal credit card bills. Price was taken to the Lackawanna County Jail, with bail set at $25,000.
According to Dennis, Price was employed at the office for about one-and-a-half years before the incident unravelled and she was fired.
“I feel violated,” said the dentist. “It was a valued employee that I’ve trusted with, obviously, my personal and my office finances, and that I helped out many times personally to help her better herself, being a single mother. And her working literally an arm’s length away from me and steeling from me, after I paid her very well.”
The affidavit states Yarns and Patrolman Edward Orzalek met with Dennis, his accountant Paul J. Cobb and his attorney Jason Mattioli at his office at 116 N. State St. on Friday, Dec. 4 to review findings of the accountant’s investigation into a credit card.
“We were informed that sometime in September of this year, Dennis’ office manager/employee (the defendant) spoke to him about opening up a credit card for the business,” reads the affidavit. “He states she wanted to open one that had ‘miles reward,’ and she helped him open an American Express Gold Business account. He stated she filled out the paperwork and then had him sign the contract and sent it back. At that time without his knowledge, the suspect Price opened a second charge card on the account under her name.”
According to the affidavit, Dennis later received a call from the credit card company regarding the deactivation of the card due to “flags.” When he confronted Price, she allegedly told him she used the card for numerous personal items on “accident” and was also using it to pay off other cards. She then agreed to pay Dennis $7,000 in lieu of the charges being pressed.
Dennis then decided to have his accountant go over the statements. During his review, Cobb discovered the $26,925.33 worth of payments to various other cards not owned by the business.
Dennis said he also learned during the process that Price has a criminal record, including charges of check forgery while working as an office manager at Linwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scranton. He said he regrets his failure to properly research the former employee’s history before hiring her.
According to a Lackawanna County Court docket, Price was charged by Magisterial District Judge Joanne Price Corbett in September 2011 with 29 counts of forgery.
“Had I done a Google search, or checked on her, I think this could have been averted,” Dennis said.
The woman wrote unauthorized checks and made unauthorized credit card transfers, police say.
January 04, 2016 at 11:05 AM, updated January 04, 2016 at 1:39 PM
A Passaic County woman stole more than $83,000 between December 2013 and November 2015 from the dental office where she worked in Hackettstown, police report.
Angelica Rodriguez, of Totowa, New Jersey, wrote unauthorized checks and made unauthorized credit card transactions to her personal account valued at a total of $83,477.12 while she worked at Skylands Dental, 117 Grand Ave., town police said.
No patient accounts, files or personal information were impacted, police said.
The crime was reported Dec. 4 and, after an investigation, Rodriguez was charged Dec. 21 with theft and posted 10 percent of $50,000 bail, police said. She has a pending court date, police added.
She was also wanted on a $1,000 criminal warrant out of Paterson Municipal Court, police said.
A listed phone number wasn’t available for Rodriguez.