- Start asking unusual questions of staff
- Ask for reports you haven’t requested before
- Spend lots of time in your private office on the phone with your CPA
- Allow a couple of geeky looking people with briefcases to come to your office to look at stuff
- Implement additional security features in your software
- Start posting articles about embezzlement in other offices on your staff room bulletin board
- Run around flapping your wings like a chicken
If someone is embezzling from you, they are constantly looking for signs that they are about to get caught. When a thief observes these signs, their thoughts turn to self-preservation, which includes things like destroying evidence. “Evidence” for this purpose usually includes your practice’s financial and clinical records.
Unfortunately, many dentists have learned the hard way about the dangers from alerting a suspect prematurely. If you have concerns about embezzlement, we recommend using our “Panic List of dos and don’ts that is available on our web store at www.dentalembezzlement.com/store and getting immediate professional assistance.
David Harris co-wrote this article several years ago with his friend, Dental Consultant Lorraine Guth, in a great magazine called The Progressive Dentist. It’s a great discussion about embezzlement and the dilemma that Lorraine faced.
Lorraine’s web site is www.guthdentalconsulting.com and her phone number is 636-273-9500
If you suspected your friend’s spouse of cheating, would you tell? What if the signs of the deceit were fairly clear, but you couldn’t be sure? It’s a tough question, and most of us really don’t know how we would respond until actually faced with the decision. As consultants, one of our most difficult challenges is bringing evidence forward when we believe a dentist-client is the victim of fraud.
Follow me as I recount an experience. It was the end of the first day of observation and coaching in Dr. Simpson’s practice. I watched and learned from the doctor and team members. Something didn’t seem right. I began my mental organization of findings and started to dig deeper. Dr. Simpson’s favorite and most dedicated employee seemed to be holding back.