Dental Embezzlement News
Issue #33 -- April 2015
Did you miss a previous newsletter?  We archive them here.
See Us Live!
Here are some of the places we are speaking soon.  We'd love to see you at one of them.
Apr 9
New Orleans Dental Conference, New Orleans LA
Apr 10 Dental Ceramics Group, Richfield 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
Our presentations have great titles like "How To Steal From A dentist" and "How NOT to Hire the Wrong People in your Practice".
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?
Senior Examiner Anne Joseph's grandfather was an orthodontist, as is her father. 
Their reaction when Annie told them she was going to Law School must have been interesting.


This Month in Our Electronic Store
How To Beat Embezzlement
Our How To Beat Embezzlement white papers are available for orthodontists, oral surgeons and all other dentists are available for purchase on our web store.  And until the end of April, the normal prices have been reduced by one third.
Orthodontists -- click here
Oral surgeons -- click here
All other dentists -- click here

I’m being embezzled? It can’t be her, she’s my best dental practice employee!

By David Harris MBA, CPA, CMA, CFE, CFF
I’ve lost track of how many dental practice embezzlements I’ve investigated over the last 25 years. My company, Prosperident, investigates hundreds each year. 
First, let’s quantify the problem. Published statistics suggest that dentists have a 60% probability of being victimized at some point during their career. Average amounts stolen exceed $100,000, and remediation costs add to the total loss.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, most embezzlers are not “serial embezzlers” who are successfully hired after stealing from others. Rather, over 85% of the embezzlement we investigate is committed by long-term employees with no criminal record or adverse work history. So while it’s important to background check potential hires, it’s far from the perfect antidote for embezzlement since the greater danger lies with existing employees with no prior problems.
Regardless of the embezzlement methodologies used, invariably there are outward behavioral manifestations that give it away. That’s not just my experience, but it also agrees with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, which in its 2012 Report to the Nations found that over 80% of embezzlers displayed behavioral indications of embezzlement.

Here are some “embezzlement-like” behaviors that doctors should look for:

• The employee’s situation suggests financial pressure. They have an addiction or gambling problem, their spouse has lost his or her job, or they are getting divorced. Visible symptoms may include creditors calling the office, a wage garnishment, or frequent requests for pay advances or loans.
• The employee works many extra hours. Thieves want “alone” time in the office to steal. Paradoxically, this makes them look like super-dedicated employees.
David Harris is Prosperident's CEO, and is the world's foremost expert on dental office embezzlement.  

The above article was reprinted with permission from The McGill Advisory, a monthly newsletter with online resources devoted to tax, financial planning, investments, and practice management matters exclusively for the dental profession, published by John K. McGill & Company, Inc.  Visit, or call the newsletter department at 888-249-7537 for more information.
A Note From Our CEO:
Misconceptions about Embezzlement

I speak to dentists ALL DAY about embezzlement (and I know what many readers are thinking, which is "get a life, Dave"), so I have a pretty good idea what people misunderstand about the topic.  I'm going to highlight a couple of the things that misunderstand, and explain the misconceptions.

1.  If someone is embezzling from me, if I fire them, I will lose some of my recourse against them if I fire them.
I get calls all the time from people who are wondering whether it is possible to charge someone with embezzlement who is no longer an employee, or worried that if they fire someone, their ability to go after that person will be diminished.  Neither of these is true -- embezzlement is a criminal act in every state and province.  There is no requirement that someone must still be an employee to be charged.  In fact, there is no requirement that someone was EVER an employee to embezzle; the normal requirement is simply that they had to be in a "position of trust" at the time of the theft (so for example, if an independent-contractor bookkeeper steals, this is still embezzlement), as is an adult child stealing from an elderly parent.
I'm not sure of the source of this mistaken belief, but we encounter it enough to motivate me to set the record straight, and I wonder how many dentists aren't firing someone that they should out of a fear of reduced opportunity to prosecute.

2.  If I reduce the amount of opportunity for an employee to steal, the probability of embezzlement decreases. 
What people assume is that the kind of controls that work against other types of crime are also effective against embezzlement.  They aren't.  Control measures (like locking your car doors or installing an alarm in your house) don't convert thieves into honest people; they simply divert crime to some other victim.  This isn't possible with embezzlement, where the victim is pre-ordained, and switching to an alternate victim may take years.  What an embezzler can control is not their choice of victims but their choice of methodology.  So the end results of these efforts is that you still get embezzled, but via a different methodology.
3.  Embezzlers predominantly steal cash; it is much more difficult to steal checks, credit card payments, or electronic funds transfers.
The single biggest mistake that I see doctors make is to underestimate the ingenuity and creativity of embezzlers.  These are smart people who are pushed by some fairly powerful forces, and don't feel a compulsion to follow any rules that you, or your bank, may have established.  I'd gently suggest to our readers that ANY form of wealth transfer can be diverted.
I have more myths I'd like to highlight, so expect to see this topic revisited in a future column.
For those of you with embezzlement concerns, I'd encourage you to complete our Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire, available here.  It will take less than 20 minutes to complete, and is the best time investment you can make in combating embezzlement. 

Thanks, as always for reading.

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