Docs: TX Employee stole $63,000 from periodontal practice


AUSTIN (KXAN) – A 26-year-old woman faces a state jail felony after police say she stole more than $60,000 from an Austin-area periodontist’s office.

An arrest warrant issued for Chrissie Socorro Trejo says the doctors in the practice became suspicious when a patient tried to pay in cash instead of paying with a credit card like patient’s history showed. The patient told one of the doctors that she usually paid with cash. According to the warrant, an audit of the practice’s pay history showed that on days Trejo was working alone at the front desk there were discrepancies between what were recorded as payments by customers and actual bank deposits.

In the audit, a shortfall of nearly $63,000 was discovered.

According to the affidavit, Trejo admitted that she “occasionally took cash” from the business during a meeting with the practice’s attorney.

If convicted, Trejo faces up to two years behind bars and a fine up to $10,000.

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Georgia office manager accused of embezzling $60k

peter-ngunyi SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — A Smyrna man is accused of siphoning more than $60,000 from a Sandy Springs periodontal practice where police said he worked as a business manager. Peter Ngunyi, 33, turned himself into the Fulton County Jail last week on theft charges after doctors at Atlanta Periodontal report missing money. “They believe he used an American Express card and some fraudulent payroll activity in order to embezzle the money,” said Sandy Springs police spokeswoman Forrest Bohannon.  “He had access to the credit cards and payroll of the business.” According to an incident report obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik, investigators believe Ngunyi made unauthorized payments to his own company and to several marketing sites, including and Google Adwords. “The higher amount does make it a felony amount; however, he’s way over the mark for felony theft,” said Bohannon. Ngunyi’s attorney, Jeff Brickman, told Petchenik his client immediately turned himself into the jail upon learning of a warrant for his arrest. Brickman told Petchenik his client provided advertising and marketing services to the practice that “completely changed the complexion of the business.” “This is a purely contractual matter and has no business being in the criminal courts,” Brickman said. Brickman said he’s disappointed that police were quick to take out warrants against Ngunyi without first getting his side of the story.  He said he’s talking to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office about having the case dismissed so that it can be handled in civil court. The Fulton County Jail website shows Ngunyi posted a $20,000 bond is now out of jail.
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Texas woman who stole from periodontist could get probation instead of 10 years in prison


Posted: Friday, January 22, 2016 12:00 am

A 48-year-old Willis woman was told she would have to serve 10 years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her employer unless a judge decides six months from now that she can go on probation.

Brenda Lois Hobson pleaded guilty in October to theft of property between $20,000 and $100,000. District Judge Travis Bryan III decided her punishment Thursday, which included a $10,000 fine.

She has two weeks until she must report to Brazos County Detention Center.

After six months, she’ll go before the judge and he will decide whether she should be put on probation.

Hobson admitted to manipulating financial records over the course of several years at Brazos Valley Periodontics Center where she worked as a receptionist and office manager.

Sam Seale, the owner of the clinic who was called to testify against Hobson, complimented the efforts of Assistant District Attorneys Kevin Capps and John Brick, who prosecuted the case.

He said he was pleased Hobson will have to spend some time in prison, but was disappointed she could be put on probation after six months.

“I feel like the severity of her crimes, of her theft and fraudulent activities, warranted more than that,” Seale said.

Seale also thanked his patients who stayed with his practice during the investigation of Hobson’s actions.

Prosecutors said Hobson would pocket cash and tell patients to sign blank checks that were later deposited in her bank account. She would then change financial records to cover her tracks.

Hobson said she would use the money to buy purses, shoes and to get her nails done.

Hobson, who testified in her own defense, admitted her wrongdoing and apologized to Seale and his family.

“I am very sorry for everything I did, for what it’s caused for you and your family, for your employees and the business,” she said to Seale. “I know you said earlier that you’re not able to forgive, and I completely understand that. I can’t imagine what you and your family have gone through.”

Hobson was fired from the job she held before the dental clinic after an investigation showed she forged a signature to divert $5,400 to her own bank account.

Since the signature she forged was her mother-in-law’s — who didn’t wish to press charges — the incident never made it to criminal court.

Hobson’s defense attorney, Craig Greaves, argued that because she didn’t have a criminal record and that she was receiving counseling, she should be given probation instead of jail time.

“There’s a lot of things you can do here,” he said to the judge. “But sending her to the pen is not going to rehabilitate anybody, it’s not going to deter anybody.”

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Florida dentist has $399k removed from retirement accounts


A semi-retired dentist who last month started receiving incessant telephone calls, all 30-second recordings from a sex hotline, told the police this week that nearly $400,000 had been siphoned from his retirement account since the calls began.

Robert Thousand Jr., 61, a periodontist in World Golf Village, said he believes the telephone scheme and the thefts are connected.

“It’s a very sophisticated operation, actually,” Thousand said Tuesday.

On Monday, he filed a police report saying he checked his TD Ameritrade account and found that money — a total of $399,000 — started disappearing days after the phone calls started.

The withdrawals were of $18,000 on Nov. 23, $82,000 on Nov. 25, $99,000 on Nov. 30, and $100,000 on both Dec. 2 and 4.

Thousand, who recently sold his St. Augustine practice, said it seems the perpetrators infiltrated his phone lines to prevent the broker from contacting him about the transactions.

His son, Robert Thousand III, is a fellow dental specialist in the St. Augustine area who had also been on the receiving end of the harassing phone calls.

But it didn’t appear his bank accounts had been touched, the elder Thousand said.

Still, they both have put freezes on their financial accounts as a precaution.

“They just hit me,” he said. “Apparently they were targeting me, but Bobby and I have the same name (so) they were probably thinking his practice was my practice.”

Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, said detectives were still investigating the phone calls Monday when they learned about the withdrawals.

Investigators couldn’t definitively say whether the two crimes were connected.

“There’s a possibility,” Mulligan said. “But at this juncture, we simply don’t know.”

Kristin Petrick, a spokeswoman for TD Ameritrade, said she could not comment on Thousand’s situation.

“Because of our privacy policy we don’t comment on individual client circumstances,” Petrick said.

Coincidentally, President Barack Obama on Tuesday named Howard Schmidt as his cyber-security coordinator.

In May, Obama said cyber-security was one of the “most serious economic and national-security challenges we face,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Thousand had heard about the appointment, saying, “I even heard today that the president appointed (Schmidt) as the cyber crime czar now, which we needed for a long time.”

He just hopes it’s not too late for him.

He said his accountant told him that the money likely would not be recoverable and, to add insult to injury, he might have to pay income taxes and an early-withdrawal penalty on what he lost.

Not to mention, he isn’t sure where his money is going.

The money was taken out in New York City, but Thousand wondered aloud if it would end up funding terrorism.

“I don’t know where this 400,000 is going,” he said. “I could have bomb with my name on it: Thank you, Bob.”

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NY Woman accused of embezzling $500k from dentist; charges subsequently dropped

Higgins-Cheryl WHITE PLAINS – Acting Westchester County District Attorney James A. McCarty announced that Cheryl Higgins, age 51, of Mohegan Lake, was arraigned on Aug. 4, 2016 on a felony complaint charging her with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony. McCarty said during the period between Dec. 18, 2007 and March 5, 2015, the defendant, the former office manager for David Sandak, D.D.S. of Advanced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry of Westchester, stole in excess of $500,000 from her employer. She accomplished this by opening an unauthorized business credit card, according to McCarty, and using Dr. Sandak’s personal credit card accounts. The defendant proceeded to pay for her own personal expenses using Dr. Sandak’s funds and to purchase items for herself and her family without permission or authority to do so. The defendant’s bail was set at $100,000. Charges were subsequently dropped by the District Attorney due to lack of evidence.
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Wisconsin Woman Accused of Stealing $140k from Dental Office — had Prior Embezzlement Conviction

Tishia Jaeck

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GREENFIELD, Wis. —A 51-year-old woman was convicted of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a dental office in Greenfield while working as its office manager.  She was sentenced in February 2015 to a seven-year prison sentence, but was eligible for release after sixteen months.

Tishia Jaeck might have gambled away some that cash, police said.

Unbeknownst to Greenfield’s Progressive Periodontics, its business manager is now accused of quietly siphoning tens of thousands of dollars a year that should have been going to the practice.

“They’re looking at about a $140,000 loss,” Greenfield Assistant Police Chief Paul Schlecht said.

Greenfield police said Jaeck would encourage patients to pay with cash and would then pocket the money, covering her tracks.

“She encouraged them to pay with cash to get a 3 percent discount because this scheme wouldn’t work with a check or credit card,” Schlecht said. “She would print out a receipt and then go back into the software and delete it. That way, the patient’s bill would show up that it’s paid. The patient would get their receipt, but the dental office never got the money.”

Once prosecutors got the case from Greenfield police, they did some more digging, which that led them to a dental office in West Allis. They learned that Jaeck was convicted of doing the same thing there just a few years earlier.

In the West Allis case, she was accused of taking nearly $20,000 in a similar scheme.

“We find that all the time that the person doing the embezzlement is a very trusted loyal employee that you would never suspect. And that’s why they get away with it,” Schlecht said.

Jaeck refused to answer any police questions about where the money might have gone, but prosecutors subpoenaed her Players Club records for Potowatomi Casino and found that she lost $50,000 over the nearly three years that she worked at the dental office.

According to the complaint, the embezzlement took place for most of Jaeck’s employment — from 2011 until April.

The dental office said no patients suffered financial damages.

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