Our “busted” pages have hundreds of examples of misplaced trust and dental embezzlement.

The majority of the embezzlers in our busted pages were once TRUSTED office managers, who after years of service, began swindling the practice.

To “cook the books”, those embezzlers needed just three ingredients that are commonly be found in many dental practices.

The ingredients needed were:

their employer’s TRUST ( )
CONTROL of their employer’s money ( )
OPPORTUNITY(s) to steal ( )
(do these ingredients exist in your practice?)
TRUST is a key ingredient for embezzlement.

The majority of us are trusting, and want to see good in others.

Dentists want to see good in others as well – and they do it to a fault. Dentists are overwhelmingly trusting souls.

The principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, justice and veracity are literally pounded into their heads in school and throughout their careers by professional association.

On top of that, dental practices are small workplaces, where the daily proximity with colleagues and employees can cultivate and foster strong relationships.

So, it’s no surprise for a practice owner to consider employees as friends and in some cases treat them like family.

(Bill’s HR tip: employer-employee relationships should be cordial and never personal)

The majority of dental embezzlement cases involve misplaced trust.

Misplaced trust happens when you place trust in an employee and that trust is not acknowledged, is not respected and is betrayed by the employee.

When a dentist hires someone to manage the business side of their practice, they are forced to choose a person who they believe is honest and then trust that person to remain honest throughout their employment; which can last years or decades.

Now that’s a tall order.

The fact is, you have about a 10% chance of hiring someone with unimpeachable ethics.

‘It’s not that you can’t trust people, it’s that you must choose the people you have to trust.”

Bill Hiltz

There are three types of employees:

  1. employees who NEVER steal (never corrupt)
  2. employees who ALWAYS steal (always corrupt)
  3. employees who MAY steal (situational corruptibility)
The “10-80-10 Rule” states that 10% of people never commit fraud for any reason, 10% of people are actively looking for opportunities to commit fraud, and the other 80% fall somewhere in between.

Don’t let misplaced trust cause you to make the biggest business mistake of your career.

The good news is that to prevent employee theft, you don’t need to be a dentist by day and an accountant by night.

Nor do you need become a micromanaging paranoiac. (yes, some of you do that)

If you follow the steps below, you can weed out problem people before you hire them and learn how to check your practice for telltale sings of employee dishonesty.

Keep applicants with a checkered past out of your practice

To learn more about hiring, I recommend you take for my On-Demand course called A Typical Cased of Dental Embezzlement

One of the course handouts is a guide to help you check an applicant’s resume like a detective.

You can take the course (it’s free for members) and download the guide, or if you want to skip the course, you can download it here: Dental Office Pre-Employment Checks

The motivation to steal can emerge at any time

Most dental embezzlers are first-time offenders who were not intending to steal when first hired.

Over time, they build familiarity and trust with the dentist and the practice. Through experience, they gain an intimate understanding of how things work in the practice. They become familiar with the things their employer looks at and more importantly the things that the employer does not look at. 

At some point during their life, a situation arises that creates an intense pressure for money and they start to steal.

Stealing requires Concealing

When an employee steals, they must keep it hidden from their employer.

In most cases, the employee will adulterate the practice’s billing and payment records to create a false sense that everything is in order to conceal their crime.

To maintain this illusion and assuage suspicions, they accordingly change their behavior at work.

Employee dishonesty leaves clues and you can check your practice for those clues by clicking the image below.