Prosperident is pleased to announce the conviction of Andrea Smith of Seabrook,TX (who sometimes goes by the name Andrea Samford) for embezzling a Texas dentist. Ms. Smith was convicted of theft of between $2,500 and $30,000, and was sentenced to restitution plus two years of probation.
Ms. Smith has several prior convictions including check fraun and assault.
Here is a full report from the Harris County record system:
SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) —
Help Sugar Land Police take a bite out of crime and identify a man whose smiling face isn’t exactly what it appears to be.
The man, police say, used a stolen identity to try and get $45,000 worth of new teeth.
In late November, he showed up at Smile Texas and was pre-approved by two lenders. According to the dentist’s office, he showed an ID. He filled out the paperwork. He even had X-rays and dental molds made.
“He was eager to get it done quickly,” said Elsa Horn, Smile Texas’ finance coordinator. “No alarms. He had everything set up ahead of time. Our patients can go online ahead of time and be pre-approved for financing.”
But he didn’t show up the day of the surgery. When the dental office tried to contact him, they learned he wasn’t who he said he was.
The best piece of evidence against him, other than his dental records, is his smiling face. Police are hoping this shot helps lead to his arrest.
“We’re hoping to get his picture out, get him on the news, and get him identified,” said Sergeant Matt Levan. “You see him smiling in the picture, and he does need a little bit of work on his teeth. ”
We did reach out the man whose identity was stolen. He did not return our requests for comment.
Austin Area Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Stealing Millions From Pension Plans
In Austin today, 64-year-old Lakeway resident Ricky Lynn Richardson was sentenced to five years in federal prison for stealing millions from pension plans announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Sam Sparks ordered that Richardson pay approximately $ 4,362,813.59 restitution and be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
On March 18, 2014, Richardson pleaded guilty to a one-count Information charging him with theft and embezzlement from an employee benefit plan. According to authorities, from 1998 to 2013, Richardson stole money from four separate pension plans for which he provided administrative services, namely approximately $941,234 from the Texas Dental Association in Austin, approximately $2,504,258 from D.W.D. Engineering in the Houston area, approximately $687,520 from Green Leaflet, Inc., in Austin and approximately $229,800 from Albert T. Gross, M.D. in Austin. During the scheme, Richardson, doing business as Benefit Consultants, Inc., in Spicewood, TX, secretly misdirected or misappropriated money that belonged to the plans and provided customers with false statements, leading them to believe they still had the retirement money.
This investigation was conducted by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Employees Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor. Assistant United States Attorney Alan M. Buie prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.
Dentists should be on the lookout for a serial embezzler named Nancy PRUETT (has also gone by Nancy Richey and Nancy Castillo). Her date of birth is reported to be 5/12/1967.
It looks like Nancy has been convicted of several embezzlements, and as of the date of writing (June 2020) she is serving a prison sentence in Texas with an expected release date of January 2022.
We have received reports from several other doctors claiming that she stole from them as well.
Here are a couple of pictures of our fired Nancy, and a copy of her extensive Texas criminal convictions is below. Reportedly she uses online dental job boards to find jobs in dental offices, and has been reported to be ignoring parole conditions that were intended to keep her from working in dental practices.
PRUETT,NANCY (SID: 08960788)
SEX FEMALE RACE WHITE ETHNICITY HISPANIC HEIGHT 5’5″ WEIGHT 150 LBS EYES BROWN HAIR BLACK PLACE OF BIRTH TEXAS NAME(S) • CASTILLO,NANCY • PRUETT,NANCY (Primary) • RICHEY,NANCY BIRTH DATE(S) • 5/12/1967 (Primary)
The Cameron County Sheriff’s Office is charging a 35-year-old San Benito man with stealing more than $300,000 from a Los Fresnos dentist office over a three-year period.
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said investigators arrested Francisco Hernandez-Limon Wednesday on Rio Hondo School District property. According to the district’s website, Hernandez-Limon worked as a bookkeeper.
The allegations, however, stem from when Hernandez-Limon worked at Los Fresnos Family Dentistry.
In 2016, Lucio said that office’s owner contacted him to file a report about $48,000 that was missing from the books. Investigators would later discover a total of $308,000 that was missing and accuse Hernandez-Limon of stealing it through various methods.
Lucio said Hernandez-Limon took cash from Los Fresnos Family Dentistry, forged checks, used the company credit card to charge personal items and gave himself unauthorized bonuses.
Hernandez-Limon is scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. Thursday on a charge of misapplication of fiduciary property. Lucio said the suspect, if convicted, could be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison, but not less than five years and also face a $10,000 fine.
Marilynn “Missy” Armstrong of Paris was booked into the Lamar County Jail on Friday, April 21, 2017, for theft from her employer.
Armstrong was employed at LeeCrawford Dental (located on Pine Mill Rd.) for almost 10 years until November 2016 when she was confronted for allegedly embezzling finances and immediately terminated.
Armstrong was in charge of bookkeeping, collecting money, and making deposits for the dental office. She carried several office responsibilities regarding company finances, according to a representative for the company.
Suspicion of theft originated in 2016 after Dr. Crawford took notice that daily income amounts were not matching deposits that had been made. It appeared that there was over $150,000 unaccounted for over a period of 8 years, stated Dr. Crawford’s office.
Dr. Crawford filed charges in January 2017, and Armstrong was indicted by the Lamar County Grand Jury two weeks ago. Bond for Armstrong has been set at $15,000.
eParisExtra spoke with Lee Crawford Dental whereby the representative said, “No one saw this coming”.
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.
By J.J. Smith. A Royse City man has been sentenced to ten years in prison by a Rockwall County jury after stealing nearly $100,000 from his former employer, Goliad Dental in Rockwall, owned by Dr. Barney Barnhill.
Former Office Manager Billy Ray Benavidez, 35, (pictured above) was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 by the jury in the 382nd District Court.
District Judge Brett Hall also ordered Benavidez to pay $99,942 in restitution to Goliad Dental.
His prison term and fine were the maximum allowed by law for theft over $20,000 but under $100,000, according to the chief prosecutor, Rockwall County Assistant District Attorney Damita Sangermano.
Goliad Dental Office Administrator Irma Urieta said that Benavidez actually caused Goliad Dental to lose closer to $250,000, including the nearly $100,000 cash he pocketed plus additional discounts he offered to get patients to pay cash.
She said they doubt that any of the money will ever be returned to the dental office.
We’re just glad it’s over, she said. He was a real con man. We’re glad he got caught. Now we’re just getting back to normal. It hasn’t been fun.
According to Sangermano, the thefts occurred between Sept, 2007, and May, 2008, at a time when Benavidez was responsible for all financial operations at the dental clinic.
He embezzled all cash paid by patients for dental services and encouraged cash payments from patients by offering them a substantial discount on dental services, not authorized by Dr. Barnhill, she explained.
Because Billy Benavidez had access to the patient computer program, he was able to manipulate the records so that the cash payments did not appear, i.e., record them as credit card payments, change the dates, etc. He was the office manager, so no one looked beyond the obvious until a discrepancy came to light and then the entire amount was discovered when an audit was run that showed the changes he was making to conceal his thefts.
Urieta said he was caught when a dental assistant checked on a patient’s record to see how the patient had been billed. When she noticed the next day that Benavidez had changed the record, backdated the payment to 2007 so it wouldn’t show up, and that the patient had paid cash, she became suspicious and showed Dr. Barnhill.
Soon after, an audit was completed revealing the large sum of money missing, plus Benavidez was caught lying about going to Mexico and was found hiding in the office trying to take evidence.
He had all kinds of yellow sticky notes all over the place, she said.
Although he claimed he would repay the money, Benavidez was fired May 28, 2008, and police were contacted. He was arrested Oct. 6, 2008 and remained in jail until his trial began in Dec, 2009.
Sangermano said that Benavidez had committed a similar crime with his wife at a New Mexico dental clinic before coming to Texas. He was serving five years of probation when he arrived here but nobody realized it.
He is currently on probation in Roswell, NM for forgery and committed the same offense against Dr. Carlton Walker, a now retired dentist. He embezzled cash payments from patients in exactly the same way he committed the Rockwall County offense but, in addition, he was submitting fraudulent refund claims to the insurance companies and cashing them.
The checks are the basis for the forgery charge. His wife, Rachael Benavidez, was a codefendant in the New Mexico charge and was also placed on probation for her participation in that offense.
There was no evidence that his wife was involved in the Rockwall case so there are no charges pending against her, she added.
Urieta said they were unaware of his record because their original background check only included Texas. After he was arrested, they paid for a nationwide background check and then learned about his previous crimes.
Dr. Barnhill was not aware of his record because Benavidez told Dr. Barnhill that his previous employer could not be contacted because he had retired due to a serious illness, said Sangermano.
The Assistant DA said he is currently waiting to be transferred to a Texas prison and from there is facing extradition and sentencing on a probation revocation in New Mexico.
It is possible that the New Mexico sentence could be stacked on the Texas sentence which would require the defendant to serve the sentences consecutively. I believe the defendant is facing a penalty range of 1-3 years in New Mexico, she added.
Sangermano said that prior to his arrest, he was indicted by a grand jury, after Rockwall police and the Rockwall County District Attorney’s office worked together collecting and reviewing case evidence, witness statements and preparing the indictment.
Benavidez was living and working in Rockwall when he was arrested. Urieta said she doesn’t think he realized that Goliad Dental had contacted police and filed charges, nor that he was under investigation until he was arrested.
A Greenwood woman addicted to pain medications she stole from her employer was given a five-year probation sentence Thursday morning.
Misty Michelle Tullos wrote 163 fraudulent prescriptions for pills containing hydrocodone for herself while she worked as the office manager for Midland dentist Dr. Frank Kasman, according to court records.
Tullos was employed by Kasman’s office for eight years, and between Sept. 1, 2008, and March 20, 2010, she began calling pharmacies around Midland and Odessa and placing orders for Kasman for the medications. She used her son’s, husband’s or other family member’s name as the recipient of the drugs, court documents showed. She also ordered multiple 100-count bottles from health care distributor Henry Schein Inc.
Tullos was arrested on Oct. 29 following her federal indictment two days previously and signed a guilty plea deal with the court on Dec. 15.
Judge Robert Junell on Thursday ordered her to pay $9,157.24 in restitution; $4,125 of that is to be paid to Kasman and the remainder to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. She also was fined $3,000 by the court and will pay a $100 fee to the crime victim’s fund.
When Junell asked Tullos if she had anything to say to Kasman, who was sitting in the courtroom, she turned to him and apologized.
“I’m sorry for betraying your trust and confidence, Dr. Kasman,” she said.
Her attorney, Rodion Cantacuzene Jr., told the court that Kasman took his client in and helped advance her career and that Tullos understands how angry he must be at her, and that it was difficult for her to address him now.
“She’s sorry. And for her, I would like to relay that to you,” he told Kasman.
Cantacuzene then told Junell that Tullos is devastated by what she’s done to her family and she believes she’s let her husband and children down. He said she hopes she will be able to tell her children not to do drugs because of what’s happened to her.
“It’s crashed her as a human being,” he said. “The one person she can’t forgive is herself but she’s starting to work on it.”
Her attorney said that after she had had surgery and lost a friend, it was hard for her to get up and go to work. She began to take the opiates and thought, “I’ll take a few more. I have to take care of my family,” he told the court, adding that that was how she developed the addiction.
He asked Junell to sentence her to the maximum probation term of five years in lieu of prison; Tullos could have received six months in federal prison.
“She is reminded every day of what she had risked, and I don’t think she’ll risk it again,” Cantacuzene said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Klassen told Junell that he and law enforcement have worked these types of cases in the past, but this one by far involved the most fraudulent prescriptions.
“We’re not prosecuting her for being a drug addict but because she passed forged prescriptions,” he said.
He asked Junell that if her punishment was to be probation that it be some with “teeth.”
“I think there needs to be an element of punishment so she’s reminded of what she’s done,” Klassen said.
Junell handed down the five-year probation sentence but added several restrictions to the terms. Tullos is to remain on home confinement between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and must attend a drug rehabilitation program and be drug-tested on a regular basis.
She also will take part in a mental health program and perform 300 hours of community service. Tullos must notify her probation officer within 48 hours if she receives any prescription from her physician and also inform any employer of the federal conviction.
Tullos submitted to a urinalysis test before her 9 a.m. court appointment Thursday, Cantacuzene reminded the court. Then Junell said drug tests will continue periodically during her probation term.
“Ms. Tullos, you are not the victim in this case. You are the perpetrator. You are a mature woman and you made a really bad choice,” Junell said. “If you do not follow the rules of probation, I will revoke it and send you to prison.”
Appearing in an Angelina County judicial district court Thursday morning, Heather Terry, a former dental employee, pleaded guilty to three counts of prescription fraud for forging prescriptions of Hydrocodone.
As part of Terry’s plea bargain deal, Terry’s pending state-jail felony theft charge was dismissed. She has paid $2,575 in restitution for the theft.
Terry, 30, of Huntington, was sentenced to four years of probation under community supervision. She will not be allowed to leave Angelina County without permission.
During the court proceeding, Terry admitted to forging the prescriptions and taking the Hydrocodone. She said she had a previous prescription for them from past surgeries and dental work. She told Judge Barry Bryan that she is not on prescription drugs right now.
In January 2012, Terry turned herself into authorities after she was accused of forging prescriptions for Hydrocodone and Vicodin. She was charged with four counts of fraudulent possession of a controlled substance by prescription.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lufkin Police began investigating the crime on Dec. 22, when Dr. Amy Ross came to the department and reported that an employee was calling in or forging prescriptions using Ross’ and Dr. David Palmer’s numbers. Ross said Terry had been working for the office for more than eight years. Ross said a pharmacist called her and said that a large amount of Hydrocodone had been prescribed for Terry and her husband from Ross and Palmer.
Ross said neither she nor Palmer had ever written a prescription for that drug while Terry had been employed.
Ross then said she accessed records which showed 94 pills were written for Terry under Ross’ name and all were without her knowledge.
Police took handwriting samples of Terry and concluded that it matched prescriptions written on May 25 at Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, located at 903 W. Frank St., for 40 Vicodin; on July 28 at Walgreens, located at 102 N. Timberland Drive, for 40 Vicodin; and on Aug. 3 at Brookshire Brothers, located at 1807 W. Frank St., for Vicodin.
Terry was released from the Angelina County Jail after she posted a collective bond of $20,000.
Then, in April 2012, Kelly and another former dental employee, Mary Dorsey, 43, of Huntington, were arrested for stealing dental gold from their employers and selling it to gold buyers. Terry and Dorsey were both charged with state-jail felony theft.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Dr. David Palmer with Palmer and Ross Dental Group, located at 111 Christie Drive, filed a report at the police station and claimed $5,000 in scrap gold pieces had been stolen from his office. Palmer said an employee had knowledge that Terry and Dorsey had stolen the scraps.
Police also interviewed a gold buyer for Borders Group. According to statements, the owner of the Posh Cottage in Lufkin held a gold party on Nov. 8, 2011, and Terry and Dorsey and another employee came into the party together. Before the buy took place, the third employee left the party. The buyer said Terry and Dorsey approached the buying table to sell the used dental gold and some unused dental gold pieces. The buyer said she asked the women where they had gotten so much gold and Dorsey told her she had worked for a dentist who had died recently and the gold was given to her.
The suspects sold the gold for $3,600, according to the affidavit. One witness said, “When we quoted the amount for the dental gold, they seemed shocked and said that they had more to sell at a later date. A statement was made by one of the girls not to tell the third girl how much money they made because she didn’t help them that much.”
Another party was held on Dec. 11, by Terry’s mother. The buyer said as the party was drawing to a close, Terry’s mother came to her and asked her to relocate to another residence. The buyer asked why and Terry’s mother said because she did not want the owner of the home to know about the purchase “because she had a big mouth,” according to the affidavit.
The buyer said they went to Terry’s home and bought more gold. Terry said she did not have time to clean the gold and they offered to buy it for $1,750, according to the affidavit.
The buyer said, “This gold was unlike the previous dental gold that we had previously purchased. The previous gold had been separated from the porcelain and this gold had not. There was a particular piece that still had a tooth in it. The tooth still had blood on it.”
Police interviewed Dorsey, who said she had gotten the gold from her previous employer’s widow. An interview with the widow contradicted that statement.
The third employee took a polygraph test and said that the two suspects had stolen the gold from the business.
Police obtained a warrant for the arrests of both women on March 29. Both women were released from the Angelina County Jail after they each posted a bond of $3,500.