While every case of dental embezzlement is unique, they all share certain characteristics.

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  • Most embezzlers are first time offenders who do not start intending to steal.
  • Dental practice owners can reduce the possibility of hiring someone with a history of theft by conducting pre-employment background checks.

Familiarity and Trust

  • After working at the practice for a year or more, until they earn the trust of the employer and are familiar with the way things work.
  • They know what the employer looks at, and more importantly; what they do not look at

Encouragement and Confidence

  • Most embezzlers become surprised at how easy it is to steal from the practice.
  • They start by stealing small amounts. Then as time passes and each successive theft is undetected; their confidence builds and the stealing increases.

Caught or Quit

  • Embezzlers will continue to steal until they are caught or leave the practice.
  • Schemes can go on for many months or years. Some practice owners choose to fire the embezzler, leaving them free to prey upon the next dental practice.


  • Practice owners that have employee dishonesty insurance can make a claim for losses however, in most cases the claim amount will exceed typical coverage limits of $10K to $25K.
  • More than 40% of practice owners receive no financial restitution.

Criminal Conviction

  • A criminal conviction can be obtained by a guilty plea, or through prosecution supported by clear and compelling evidence.
  • Many embezzlers are first-time offenders who avoid prison by being placed on house arrest.
  • Court ordered victim restitution can be difficult to collect.