Prosperident bags another one! Office manager pleads no contest to embezzling $400K from Roanoke VA dental practice

Prosperident’s Wendy Askins has put more than her share of embezzlers behind bars.  This week, Wendy’s excellent work resulted in another embezzler going away.  Read on …

A former office manager for a Roanoke orthodontist has pleaded no contest to embezzling more than $400,000 from the business.

Deanna Mache Gray, who now lives in South Carolina, was indicted in November on 10 felony counts of embezzlement from her employer, Dr. Penny Lampros, between 2012 and 2016.

On Tuesday in Roanoke Circuit Court, Gray, 43, pleaded no contest to four of those charges and saw the other six dropped.

According to Roanoke Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Stephens, Gray worked for Lampros for more than a decade, handling her schedules, billing and other record keeping.

Stephens said that after Gray left the office in December 2016, inconsistencies were found in the financial records that suggested “widespread theft of cash payments” through voided transactions, ultimately prompting an investigation by Virginia State Police.

Each count of embezzlement carries the possibility of up to 20 years in prison, but through Gray’s agreement, prosecutors have said they will ask for a punishment within the sentencing guidelines once those are determined.

She will also be required to pay $421,119 in restitution.

Gray’s defense attorney, Ray Byrd, said in court he believed the amount taken was considerably less than the restitution, but he will not present evidence on his client’s behalf until her sentencing hearing, now set for Jan. 15.

Court records show that Lampros has also filed a civil suit against Gray, seeking $850,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. That case is scheduled to go before a jury just a few days after Gray’s sentencing, on Jan. 19.

Content retrieved from:  https://www.roanoke.com/news/crime/office-manager-pleads-no-contest-to-embezzling-k-from-roanoke/article_d6b26033-9ae8-5cdb-8982-2a8f3b0f9abe.html

Please be careful when hiring a consultant!


Update October 29, 2018:

It appears that this business is using a new name — East Coast Medical and Dental Staffing LLC.  Same website, same phone number.


Original Article:

We are fortunate to work with some excellent consultants.  However, because consulting to dentists is an unregulated profession, there is nothing stopping people with very checkered pasts holding themselves out as consultants.

The woman shown in the picture above, who has used many different names in the past owns a couple of businesses providing services to dentists. However, there is information about her that should make any dentist question the wisdom of hiring her.

The name she is using for business purposes is Kari Swanson.  Some other names that she may have used in the past are Kari Lyn Swanson, L Schukman, Kari Lyn Schuckman, Kari Lynn Swanson, and Kari Schuckman Gomez.

The two companies that she owns are:

  1.  Dental Temp Solutions, located in Virginia, which has a website that looks like this:

 

2.  The second business is called KLE Dental Jobs.  Its logo looks like this:

It seems that Kari has been in some trouble over the years.  Here are some of the criminal charges that we have identified:

It is questionable whether Kari will be able to carry on her businesses for much longer, because in May 2018 she received a fifty one month federal prison sentence (to be served starting on January 1, 2019) for embezzling from a Virginia dentist.  She was also ordered to repay a six-figure amount at the lofty rate of $150.00 per month.

Her sentencing document is here:

Kari Gomez Sentencing May 2018

However, as alarming as it is that someone with this particular baggage is selling her services to unsuspecting dentists, this conviction was not the only brush with the law for Kari.  A search of Virginia state records revealed a number of other convictions including a least a few that were fraud-related.  Based on the number of names that Ms. Schuckman / Swanson / Gomez has used over the years, it is entirely possible that there is more, but here is what we found:

We asked Kari for her comments but did not receive a response.

Kari is not the only consultant who causes us concern.  Please see this post – https://www.prosperident.com/arizona-consultant-accused-scamming-dentists/

One of our “Alumnae” sentenced

Elizabeth Armstrong

Elizabeth Armstrong of Fredericksburg VA will NOT be home for Christmas this year.  She received a prison sentence of six years (of which five years will be suspended) and was taken directly from the courthouse to prison.

Prosperident’s Chief Fraud Examiner Scott Clifford

 

Scott Clifford, who was Prosperident’s lead investigator on the case, expressed satisfaction with this outcome.  (Scott has since been promoted to Chief Fraud Examiner, in charge of all of Prosperident’s cadre of examiners).  “While no dentist who was embezzled is ever happy about it, at least they can derive some satisfaction from knowing that the perpetrator got punished”, he said recently.

 

 

 

 

 


VA woman charged in prescription scam

 

HAMPTON – A part-time receptionist for a dental office was arrested Friday morning on charges she forged prescriptions for drugs for her own use, said Rebecca Feaster, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police.

Rebecca A. Hundley, 22, of the 300 block of Woodside Drive in Hampton, turned herself in at the General District Court Building about 10 a.m. She was charged with five counts of obtaining drugs by forging prescriptions.

Hundley is accused of forging three prescriptions for Percodan, a pain killer, and Valium, an anti-depressant. The other two charges involve passing forged prescriptions, Feaster said.

Hundley is an assistant manager at a clothing store but worked part-time as receptionist for a dentist’s office, Feaster said.

The State Police Pharmaceutical Unit began investigating Hundley several months ago after the pharmacy filed a complaint, Feaster said.

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

 

Virginia woman, convicted of embezzlement, has conviction overturned on appeal

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

 

                    COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA


Present: Chief Judge Moon, Judges Willis and Elder 
Argued by Teleconference


WANDA KAYE TURNER
                                           MEMORANDUM OPINION * BY
v.   Record No. 2804-96-2               JUDGE JERE M. H. WILLIS, JR.
                                             OCTOBER 14, 1997
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA


            FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HANOVER COUNTY
                   Richard H. C. Taylor, Judge
          J. Overton Harris (Campbell, Campbell,
          Herbert & Harris, on brief), for appellant.

          Daniel J. Munroe, Assistant Attorney General
          (Richard Cullen, Attorney General, on brief),
          for appellee.



     Wanda Kaye Turner contends (1) that the trial court

erroneously denied her motion to strike the evidence, and (2)

that the Commonwealth failed to prove venue.    Because venue was

not proven, we reverse the conviction and dismiss the indictment.

     We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the

Commonwealth, granting to it all reasonable inferences fairly

deducible therefrom.   See Traverso v. Commonwealth,

6 Va. App. 172

, 176,
, 721 (1988).

     Dr. Byrd operates his dental office in Hanover County.      From

approximately July 5 until November 21, 1995, Turner was his

primary employee.   Although she performed clerical duties for

him, she was not authorized to use the business checkbook which

was located in an unlocked filing cabinet.

     In December 1995, upon examining his business bank

statements, Dr. Byrd discovered various checks out of sequence

and several checks missing.   He determined that three of the

missing checks had been written for $625.29 each, payable to

Turner.   Dr. Byrd recognized the handwriting as Turner's.   One

check was dated Wednesday, November 8, 1995.    Dr. Byrd testified

that he is not in his office on Wednesdays and that Turner was

the only person in his office that day.
     The bank statements revealed that Dr. Byrd's Central

Fidelity Bank business checking account was short the three

forged checks, each in the amount of $625.29.   Central Fidelity

Bank reimbursed him that amount.

     On March 19, 1996, a grand jury indicted Turner for grand

larceny of "property and/or U.S. currency" belonging to Dr. Byrd.

However, the indictment was amended and specifies that:
         Wanda Kaye Turner on or about June 1st
         through December 1st, in the year one
         thousand nine hundred and ninety-five, in the
         said County, and within the Jurisdiction of
         the said Circuit Court of the County of
         Hanover did unlawfully and feloniously take,
         steal and carry away U.S. currency from
         Central Fidelity Bank by cashing forged
         payroll checks having a value of $200 or more
         belonging to Eliott Bird [sic], D.D.S., with
         the intent to deprive the owner thereof
         permanently against the peace and dignity of
         the Commonwealth of Virginia.


     Turner contends that no evidence proved that the offense was

committed within the trial court's jurisdiction.   The

Commonwealth argues that the checks used to effect the alleged

larceny of Central Fidelity Bank were removed from Dr. Byrd's

office in Hanover County which is within the jurisdiction of the

trial court.   The Commonwealth cites Randall v. Commonwealth,

183 Va. 182

,

31 S.E.2d 571

 (1944), for the proposition that:
          "The failure clearly to prove venue is
          usually due to inadvertence, flowing
          naturally from the familiarity of the court,
          counsel, witnesses and jurors with the
          locality of the crime; and appellate courts
          will generally and properly lay hold of and
          accept as sufficient any evidence in the
          case, direct or otherwise, from which the
          fact may be reasonably inferred."

Id. at 187, 31 S.E.2d at 573 (citation omitted).

     Code § 19.2-244 provides, in pertinent part, that:    "Except

as otherwise provided by law, the prosecution of a criminal case

shall be had in the county or city in which the offense was

committed."    While "[t]he Commonwealth may prove venue by either

direct or circumstantial evidence[,] . . . the evidence must be

sufficient to present a '"strong presumption" that the offense

was committed within the jurisdiction of the Court.'"     Davis v.

Commonwealth,

14 Va. App. 709

, 711,
, 287 (1992)

(citation omitted).

     Turner was not indicted for stealing blank checks from Dr.

Byrd or for forgery.   Rather, she was charged with larceny of

U.S. currency from Central Fidelity Bank.   The record is devoid

of any reference to the location of Central Fidelity Bank -- the

alleged situs of the crime.   While sufficient evidence

establishes that Turner removed the blank checks in Hanover

County, we cannot infer upon that finding alone that a

subsequent, separate and distinct offense of larceny of money

from Central Fidelity Bank likewise occurred in Hanover County.

Lacking such proof, the Commonwealth failed to prove that the

larceny occurred within the trial court's jurisdiction.

     The conviction is reversed, and the indictment is dismissed.

                                        Reversed and dismissed.

VA embezzler sentenced to 31 years; all but 2 years suspended

WIRTZ — A Wirtz woman has been sentenced in Franklin County Circuit Court to 31 years in prison for embezzlement and fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs while employed by a Martinsville dentist.

All but two years of the sentence was suspended, according to court records.

In addition to the prison sentence, Margaret Lawson Martin was placed on supervised probation for three years and ordered to be of good behavior for 30 years. She was also ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution in addition to the $30,000 she has already paid back.

Lawson pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to the charges. A no contest plea serves as an alternative to pleading guilty or not guilty and has the same effect as a guilty plea.

The embezzlement and prescription drug fraud occurred while Martin was employed by Dr. John Walrod, according to Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Cliff Hapgood.

Court records show that a grand jury indicted Martin on six counts of embezzlement. Each embezzlement charge was in excess of $200. The grand jury also returned 19 indictments against Martin for obtaining prescription drugs by fraud.

The embezzlements occurred in April 2004. The prescription drug frauds occurred between May 2005 and August 2005, according to court records.

VA dental worker gets 4 years for theft

 

WILLIAMSBURG — The former office manager for a Williamsburg dental practice was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for embezzling more than $225,000 from her employers.

The crime occurred from Dec. 1997 through Sept. 2002, effectively doubling Georgia L. Brazier’s salary during those years, said Williamsburg-James City County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike McGinty.

It hurt all the employees at Bennett Butler & Associates on Bacon Avenue because their profit-sharing benefits and bonuses were affected, McGinty said.

The theft was discovered after Brazier left her job — and the office’s income went up right away, McGinty said.

With the help of her family, Brazier, 56, paid $70,000 in restitution Monday, McGinty said. He said the judge ordered her to pay another $160,000 in restitution.

“Mrs. Brazier methodically betrayed our trust, as well as her co–workers and used it for her own personal gain and enjoyment,” said Cory Butler, one of the dentists the defendant worked for. “Her actions were deceitful, selfish, malicious and manipulative.” The sentence should send a message to others who consider embezzling money, Butler 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://articles.dailypress.com/2004-08-24/news/0408240005_1_restitution-dental-theft

4th embezzlement spree gets New Kent, VA woman six years

A New Kent County woman will serve six years in prison for embezzling more than $215,000 from a Henrico medical practice.

Mary Beth Redford is not unaccustomed to facing punishment for stealing money — this is her fourth embezzlement conviction since 1988 — but the sentence levied against her Wednesday in Henrico Circuit Court was the most severe she has received.

 “When investigators looked at the books (of the medical practice) it was obvious what had happened,” said Assistant Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Owen Conway.

Redford, 44, the mother of two children, left the courtroom in handcuffs. Her previous  convictions in Fairfax, Henrico and New Kent counties resulted in active jail time of 10 months.

 Conway said that executives at Advanced Orthopaedics on Shrader Road did not check Redford’s background when they hired her in 2004.

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.dailyprogress.com/greenenews/news/th-embezzlement-spree-gets-new-kent-woman-six-years/article_9f29c4e4-a4e7-5f8f-9bbd-217e676c694a.html

Embezzlement from Blacksburg VA dentist brings 10 years probation

CHRISTIANSBURG – A former dental office worker pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing from her employer – including sometimes pocketing the co-payments from patients’ visits.

Kristie Dunn Johnson, 48, of Pearisburg, choked up as she told Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert Turk that she wanted to express “how sorry I am for the hurt I’ve caused everyone.”

In an agreement with prosecutors, Johnson pleaded guilty to four counts of embezzlement and was sentenced to consecutive three-year prison terms for a total of 12 years of incarceration. Turk then suspended the entire prison term and said that Johnson is to be on supervised probation for 10 years.

Turk ordered that Johnson repay $60,433.36 to her former employer, Huff Dentistry of Blacksburg – and to do so through the court, as she is to have no further contact with the business.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Terry said that the embezzlement came to light two years ago when a new office manager at the dental office discovered bookkeeping problems. Johnson, described as a recently terminated employee, was quickly identified as a suspect.

Johnson admitted to investigators that she had taken the co-payments that patients made, used an office credit card for personal expenses, falsified time sheets and otherwise helped herself to money from the dental office, Terry said. Johnson said that she had been driven by financial difficulties that started after her daughter began college, Terry said.

After the hearing, Johnson’s lawyer, Ryan Hamrick of Christiansburg, said that Johnson had not yet begun repayment, but also had not been given a total figure for restitution until a few days earlier.

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.roanoke.com/news/crime/montgomery_county/embezzlement-from-blacksburg-dentist-brings-years-probation/article_38edbd3d-bd0d-536f-bd6d-c6958efacf0a.html

Virginia dental worker guilty of fraudulently distributing 100,000+ hydrocodone pills

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Yorktown woman was found guilty Tuesday on charges related to  fraudulently obtaining over 100,000 hydrocodone pills.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, 54-year-old Donna Byrd Talley worked as a long-time office manager for Hampton dentist Dr. Steven Becker.

Talley had control over Dr. Becker’s bank accounts and was responsible for all office administration.

From 2002 through 2011, Talley used Dr. Becker’s DEA license to fraudulently obtain over 100,000 pills of hydrocodone from two dental supply companies.

She then distributed the hydrocodone to her husband and others and used it to feed her own addiction.

In 2011, Talley made various cash deposits to bank accounts she owned or controlled in amounts over $7,000.

On Aug. 18, 2011, investigators with the Virginia Department of Health Professions and the Virginia State Police interviewed Talley, who admitted to ordering hydrocodone. Later that same day, an investigator recovered a pill bottle containing hydrocodone from Talley’s residence, matching shipments of hydrocodone ordered by Talley and received by Dr. Becker’s office two days earlier.

Talley was convicted by a federal jury on charges of acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and mail fraud.

She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 22, 2017.

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://wtkr.com/2016/11/09/hampton-dental-worker-guilty-of-fraudulently-distributing-100000-hydrocodone-pills/