Dentists: You Can Avoid Embezzlers Embezzlement in Dental Offices
Dental offices are often susceptible to embezzlement and one of the main reasons is because these offices are too busy to keep track of the paperwork and money incoming to each office. Unfortunately, unethical staff members are well aware of this major flaw and take full advantage of the situation.
It is important to understand how to decrease the chances of embezzlement in a dental office. One of the surest ways to help avoid embezzlement situations is to avoid hiring any employee you feel uncomfortable interviewing. This is especially true for potential employees who have a spotty work history or lack of solid and reliable references.
Below are three experiences as expressed by real dentists and an orthodontist who unfortunately experienced an embezzlement situation in their business:
“My office manager (of course) was setting aside insurance checks, then picking
out cash that matched the amount of the checks. The checks were never deposited
into the patients’ accounts, so the bank deposit balanced. She did this for almost
10 years, for a total of at least $700,000. Her litigation is currently pending.
I had two other people counting the money and I have excellent evidence against
her. The insurance accounts past due eventually became overwhelming and she
was finally caught.” (Michigan orthodontist)
“My newly-hired office manager often took my office deposits in locked bank bags
to the bank. Away from the office and in secret, she took the key for the locked bag and
removed the cash. In addition, she took patients’ checks and using her ink-stamp, she
repeatedly stamped over my endorsement, showing her name as the endorser.
The bank teller gave her cash for my checks. Over 186 times from the same teller. I
successfully went after her and she received 13 months in prison. She got out of
prison and was hired by the state of Georgia, again handling money. There she
allegedly embezzled $1.5M.” (Georgia dentist)
“An employee took about $13k during a 12-month period. Police are working on
the case now. She has since resigned and is working for a new dentist that never
called to check her references.” (Kentucky dentist)
Unfortunately, for these dental offices, they had to experience workplace embezzlement before they could put in place preventative measures. In many cases, an employee had a history of theft in the workplace that the employer was either unaware of or unconcerned about. To help prevent such cases from reoccurring, it would only take an employment background screening with a criminal records search to uncover past convictions or inconsistencies at a prior position and workplace.
Dental offices are also easy targets for embezzlers because for the majority of the time dental offices do not conduct reference checks. This may be due to the fact that many offices are small businesses operating without a strong or any type of human resources department. For small companies, such as dental offices, it is extra important to invest in pre-employment background screenings as an extra precaution. While embezzlement is devastating for all sizes of companies, it is especially destructive on small companies, which could easily be put out of business.
The experiences revealed above help stress to dental offices the importance in taking more proactive methods in employment hiring, including pre-employment background screening. For more information on how to protect your office against embezzlement give us a call at 800-689-2228.