Dental Embezzlement News
Issue #31 -- February 2015
Did you miss a previous newsletter?  We archive them here.
See Us Live!
Wow -- we have a busy speaking schedule coming up (and in the month of April, four different Prosperident speakers are presenting!).  Here is where you can see us live in the upcoming months:
Feb 12
Hurley and Volk Orthodontics Schaumberg IL
Feb 13 American Academy of Dental Group Practice, Las Vegas NV
Feb 19
Ortho2 User Group Meeting, Scottsdale AZ
Mar 3 Ottawa Orthodontists Study Club, Ottawa ON
Mar 5
Pacific Dental Conference, Vancouver BC
Mar 6 Cloud9Ortho Users Meeting, Atlanta GA
Mar 12 Tincher/ Butler Dental Law, Charleston WV
Mar 13 Carestream Ortho Summit Atlanta GA
Mar 20 Dental Success Summit, Scottsdale AZ
Apr 9
New Orleans Dental Conference, New Orleans LA
Apr 10 Dental Ceramics Group, Richmond OH
Apr 14
Fox River Dental Society, Geneva, IL
Apr 16 ITI Study Club, Burlington VT
May 8 Danville District Dental Society, Danville IL
May 9
American Association of Endodontists, Seattle WA
Jul 15 Altura Periodontics, Denver CO
Jul 17 Patterson Dental, Nashville TN
Jul 31 Arkansas Association of Orthodontists, Little Rock AR
Sept 11
Northeastern Society of Orthodontists, Providence RI
Nov 5
ADA Annual Meeting, Washington DC
Nov 6 Dr. Bruce Fraser Study Club, Columbus OH
Nov 10 Limestone City Study Club, Kingston ON
Nov 13 Academy for Orthodontic Excellence, Newport Beach, CA
Nov 24 Lexington Oral Surgery Study Group, Lexington KY
To book a great speaker for your meeting or study club, please send an email here  or call us at 888-398-2327.
Prosperident's Mission
 “We eliminate uncertainty for dentists with embezzlement concerns and maximize financial and emotional recovery for victims.”

Did you know?
 Fully 20% of us here at Prosperident have at least one parent who is a dentist.  Weird!


This Month in Our Electronic Store
Attention Oral Surgeons!
Our long-awaited How to Beat Embezzlement in Your Oral Surgery Practice guide is now available for purchase.
This white paper is our compendium of "best practices", tailored specifically for the OMFS context. The information it contains is something you could pay a consultant thousands of dollars for.
Until February 28, this guide is available for $119, which is one third off the regular price.
For a direct link to purchase your copy, click here.
How Not To Hire The Wrong People In Your Practice
By David Harris, Prosperident CEO
Much has been written about hiring the right people for dentists.  Finding a good personality fit and ensuring that employees properly project your office’s personality are things others know far more than I do, so there is little that I can contribute to that discussion.
However, my background and experience provide some insight into how “serial embezzlers”, who are the very LAST people you want to hire, successfully conceal unsavory pasts.  I’d like to share what I have learned about their tactics.
Let’s start by profiling typical embezzlers.  They are smart, organized, and have strong computer skills.  They present well in interviews, and convey an understanding of the preciousness of your time, and commit to creating an environment where that time can be used most effectively.  They present an attractive resume without typos (seemingly a rarity today).  And, of course, they have dental experience, although you don’t yet fully comprehend the nature of that experience.
You are likely thinking that I have just described a perfect employee.  One of the ironies of embezzlement is that thieves superficially resemble the perfect employee.  Fortunately, there are areas where embezzlers differ from truly ideal employees, and this article will help you differentiate.
The most obvious area is that many, but certainly not all, serial embezzlers have criminal records.  A properly conducted criminal records check will uncover this, and allow some rotten apples to be foregone.  Two things should be kept in mind here.  Many embezzlers don’t have criminal records either because charges were never brought, or because of the agonizing slowness of the justice system.  Also, since a criminal record could reside in many different places, criminal background checking is complicated and best contracted out to professionals.
My next advice is that, when checking with former employers, verifying education etc., eschew any phone number provided by an applicant.  We have seen many cases where doctors thought they were speaking to former employers, finding out much later that it was actually a friend of the applicant pretending.  So when verifying past experience or a credential, locate the phone number independently so that you know with whom you are speaking. 
Now that you are speaking with the right person, let’s consider what you should check.  What you are seeking is the “undisclosed job” that the applicant wants to conceal.  This job can be hidden either by covering it with non-employment (“home with children”, “travelling through Europe” etc.), or by “stretching” the dates of other employment to cover what they want to hide.
If an applicant claims a lot of time out of the work force, request a copy of their tax return and assessment from the IRS.  Like any document, a tax return could be forged, but the nature of this form makes the forgery a lot of work, so most applicants trying to hide something will simply move on to another victim.
My other suggestion is to ask each former employer (and you should normally contact all employers from at least the last five years) a few strategic questions. 
  • Get them to provide exact dates of employment.    Don’t prompt them with the dates in the resume and ask for verification; human nature may result in them agreeing without verifying
  • Verify job title and responsibilities
  • Ask who the previous and subsequent employers were (most former employers know this)
  • If the applicant claims to be currently working for that employer, confirm this with the employer.  People who have been fired tend to conceal this fact from you
  • Finally, ask each former employer a very specific question, “if this person were available and if you had a suitable opening, would you rehire them?” 
The attractiveness of this question is that, while former employers are often cautioned by attorneys to avoid derogatory statements, most will find this question, which simply asks about future intent and not about specific actions or characteristics, to be a “safe” question to answer.  And a single word answer, like “no” (or anything short of an enthusiastic “yes”), shouts volumes about the applicant.
Compare all answers to the resume, and reject any applicant where dates or job history do not line up exactly with the information you determined independently. 
While there is no foolproof means of identifying resume cover-ups, the simple techniques outlined here give you an excellent chance of spotting situations when resumes have been “doctored”.  Also, while the focus of this article is on finding criminal activity, techniques shown here will also help uncover “resume embellishment”, which is a definite concern-- published studies suggest that over 60% of resumes contain some form of lying.  Also, 65 million Americans (1 in 4 adults) have criminal records.

A Note From Our CEO:
The Question I Get Asked Most When Speaking...
People come to my lectures looking for many things -- some want CE credit; others with embezzlement concerns want information, and there are probably some seeking entertainment.
There is also the group I call "validators" -- what they want is affirmation that they are doing the right things to address the possibility of embezzlement in their practices.
So after the lecture or during a break, they will approach me to ask if a specific business practice (that they are using or are contemplating using) will "prevent" embezzlement.  Some of the more common tactics discussed are separation of front-desk functions, direct deposit of insurance payments into their bank account, not accepting assignment of insurance benefits, and having a bank "lock box" where payments are directed and opened by a third party.
I think that most of them leave the conversation disappointed when I tell them that, while many of these things are good ideas for other reasons, none of them are likely to have any impact on embezzlement. 
The reason is simple -- each of these things removes one (narrow) opportunity for stealing.  What none of them do is to address the thief's desire to steal, which is an incredibly strong force (and one which humankind has had little success in influencing despite a lot of trying).  A thief who knows you well, and probably understands your practice management software far better than you do, is very likely to overcome whatever obstacles you place in their path and successfully embezzle.
So while I will never encourage you to stop looking for more streamlined ways to run your practice, we also can't ever be lulled into thinking that we have created a structure that is embezzlement-proof.
So if you are one of those unfortunates who has been on the receiving end of one of my "if you did that, here is how I would embezzle from you" sentences in one of my presentations, I apologize for leaving you feeling a bit deflated.  However, I hope that you gained some insight that will equip you better to recognize and deal with the possibility of embezzlement in your practice.
The best defense against embezzlement is our Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire, which you can get here.
Thanks for tuning in.

David Harris, MBA CMA CFE CFF
Chief Executive Officer
Prosperident -- The world's largest dental investigation embezzlement firm