Dental Embezzlement News

Issue #5 -- September 2012
Hear us speak...
Here are some of the places Prosperident will be speaking soon.  We'd love to see you at one of our events.  To book an excellent speaker for your study club or dental meeting, call us at 888-398-2327 or send an email to
September 12 Springdale, AK --Dr. Boyd Whitlock
Study Club
October 4 Westside Women's Study Group, Houston TX
October 11 Binghamton, NY -- Sixth District Dental Society
October 16 San Francisco, CA -- Academy of Dental Management Consultants
November 25 New York, NY -- Greater New York Dental Meeting (DT Study Club)
November 25-29 Toronto, Kitchener, London and Windsor ON -- Patterson Dental
January 15, 2013
Wheaton Dental Society, Wheaton MI
March 7-9 Vancouver, BC -- Pacific Dental Conference
April 12 Parker, CO -- Denver Profitable Dentists Study Club
April 17-20
Las Vegas, NV -- Dentaltown Townie Meeting
A Note From Our CEO:
With Labor Day behind us and the kids back to school/university/prison or whatever, it is now time for us to turn our minds back to business matters.

Unfortunately, one of those pesky business matters affecting many dentists is embezzlement.  Published statistics suggest that three in five dentists will be victimized by an embezzler in their careers.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about how best to manage this problem.  Many well-intentioned advisors suggest that if the dentist simply checks more (or different) things each month, they will be able to detect embezzlement.

I recently made this response to a consultant who was advocating a checklist of things for a dentist to do or check monthly (I stopped counting at 80 items on the list):

"Respectfully, I think you are going at this in the wrong way.
I don't have a specific objection to anything on this (very lengthy) list.  However, I do object strongly to the underlying philosophy, which is to suggest that the way to control embezzlement in a dental office is to turn the dentist into an untrained, under-equipped, part-time auditor.
Most dentists I know, when given a list of this length, will simply throw up their hands and ignore the list.  I haven't tried to calculate the time that performing all tasks on this list would takebut I bet that it is 25 hours or more monthly.  Since the number of hours in a week  is constant, this time would come either from clinical or family time, and both have considerable value.
The other problem with the "dentist as auditor" concept is that it ignores the adaptability of embezzlers.  Most successful embezzlers in dental offices are long-term employees.  Their seniority means that they know their doctor well, including what he or she looks at on a monthly basis (and more importantly, what is not scrutinized).  It is then simply a matter of finding a way to steal that is outside the dentist's scrutiny.  If you start looking at more, or different, items the thief simply switches methodologies and carries on stealing.  Ultimately, there are fraud methodologies that NO system of controls and checks can stop.
Monitoring for fraud is actually far easier than most dentists and consultants think.  Regardless of the specific embezzlement methodologies being employed, the behavior of thieves is remarkably predictable.  Embezzlers want to control communication in their offices, do not want to take vacation, resist upgrades or changes to practice management software, etc.  If dentists can learn to identify behaviors consistent with embezzlement, they can quickly realize when it is happening.  A benefit of the behavior-based detection approach is that it requires way less time than trying to self-audit, which means that it is far more likely that a dentist will do what is necessary."

We have developed a scored behavior analysis checklist that I am happy to supply to any dentist or consultant who emails us at  The good news is that it usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete Cool.
Thanks for reading,

David Harris
Chief Executive Officer
What to do if you think you might be a victim
Many dentists describe the moment when they realize that a trusted employee is stealing from them as the worst moment in their professional career.
If you are in that position, however badly you feel, there are important steps to take, and many "land mines" to avoid. Here are three important points:
  1. The single most important consideration is not to alert the suspect to your concerns.  Until you can get professional assistance, acting normally is critical.
  2. Back up your computer system and keep the backup off-site and under your control.  Do not involve staff in this process.  If you don't know how to do this, contact the support department for your practice management software vendor for assistance.
  3. Don't make any changes to your dental software, banking, payroll or anything else until you can get professional assistance.
A more complete list of dos and don'ts is available by emailing us at
If you think you might be a victim, you can call us at 888-398-2327, or send email to our fraud hotline (checked daily by our on-duty investigator at  We will normally respond within 24 hours.
Visit our Website
Investigator Profile -- Dr. Pat Little 
Pat Little, DDS FAGD is a Senior Fraud Investigator with Prosperident.  Pat was a practicing dentist for 14 years before neck problems forced him to hang up his handpiece.  He returned to college where he studied accounting and is currently preparing to sit for his professional accounting exams. 

In addition to his dental and accounting experience, Pat has been a prolific writer and speaker on the use of technology in dental offices.  Pat has spoken at virtually every major U.S. dental meeting and has authored dozens of articles.

Pat's combination of clinical knowledge, dental office technology and accounting, combined with his passion for helping dentists, has made fraud investigation a natural career progression for him.

Pat specializes in the investigation of complex embezzlement matters where multiple embezzlement methodologies are used.
Prosperident -- The Dental Embezzlement Experts